2/1/2005 | 1 MINUTE READ

Mental Power Tool

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“The ways we make sense of our world are determined to a large extent by our internal mind and to a lesser extent by the external world,” write Wind and Crook (with Gunther) in The Power of Impossible Thinking.

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“The ways we make sense of our world are determined to a large extent by our internal mind and to a lesser extent by the external world,” write Wind and Crook (with Gunther) in The Power of Impossible Thinking. Wind is a professor of marketing at The Wharton School and Crook is a senior fellow at the school, so it’s not like these two are some sort of post-New Age gurus. The point they try to make is that people tend to depend on mental models, which are useful to get along on a day-to-day basis (e.g., consider how little you “think” about driving when you’re making your daily commute), but which can be stultifying when it comes to coming up with fresh ideas: “Our models shape what we see, and this opens or limits our possibilities for action.” So they argue that if we are going to be creative, inventive or otherwise free thinking, it is necessary to create new models, new patterns of thinking. Working with a metaphor from Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, they explain, “Sometimes we don’t need to merely ‘sharpen’ the saw; we need to throw it out and pick up a power tool.” Sharpen all you want: you may not cut it in today’s environment, where the creative win and the rest ebb away. The authors provide examples of people who have done a good job at transformation and provide insights as to how one can apply this to their own life. Or you could continue to do what you’ve always done and then wonder why your condition doesn’t seem to improve.—GSV
 

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