In the first part of my writing on becoming a flexible thinker, I talked about how flexible thinking important social skill that will help you get along well with people, improve your outlook about life, solve problems more effectively and make you a very great team player. I also wrote about pointers that can help you check if you are a that kind of thinker. If you missed that part, you can read it here.
In this concluding part, I will be going into detail about how you can actually become more flexible in your thinking. I should mention that flexible thinking is a skill, and like any other skill, it will not develop overnight. However, with consistent practice, it can become your default thinking style.
Let’s now go on to examine the practice of being flexible in your thinking.
Five Ways You Can Become More Flexible In Your Thinking
1. See events as learning experiences. Everything that happens to us can serve as a lesson to help us in the future. But if we are drowning in regret every time something bad happens, we can miss out on the opportunity to learn something new. So instead of just allowing events to pass you by, ask yourself what you can learn from them and how you can apply the lesson gleaned in other areas of your life.
2. Practice creative problem solving. Creativity and flexible thinking are intrinsically linked and one way to become more flexible in your thinking is to embrace creative thinking. When you see issues and challenges that other people around you are facing, ask yourself, how can this problem be solved, even if it doesn’t concern you directly. When you do that you are training your mind to become more creative at finding solutions to problems.
3. Be open to new experiences. Try out new things! I can’t overemphasize that enough. Talk to somebody new. Read a genre you’ve never read. Try watching a new sport or even learning about a new tribe. Every time you experience something new, your brain creates new neural pathways that can help in improving the plasticity of your brain. The point of new experiences is that they open you up to other people’s perspectives.
4. Always look at things from a different perspective. Learn to look from a different point of view. The way we see things are often not the way they appear but the way we are. Ask yourself questions like how can I look at this differently or what can I change about this present situation?
5. Monitor your internal dialogue. Always pay attention to the stream of thoughts that run through your subconscious mind. Every time you find yourself saying words like “never”, “shouldn’t”, “can’t”, “impossible” etc., they might be indicators that you are becoming rigid in your thinking. Words like “maybe”, “let’s find out” that allow for new experiences should be your best friends.
As you may have probably figured, a lot of flexible thinking begins with asking questions, and like I told my newsletter subscribers the other day, questions are important because they prompt your brain to shift to new perspectives and come up with novel answers that you probably won’t have come up with on your own.
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I hope this helps you.