Develop an agile mind

Mental agility, the ability to think on one’s feet, to think outside the box and to develop solutions is a priceless competency. Here’s how to start developing a mental attitude that gives you the edge;

Step away from immediacy: When you are busy all the time, you don’t have time to think. Slowing down allows you to examine your options and to determine the best course of action in any given situation.

Make time to reflect: When we are on the go all the time, it can be difficult to take a step back and judge whether we’re getting the results we want. It’s important to schedule some time each week to reflect on what worked, to identify when we were at our most productive and how we can do even better.

Engage in brainstorming: This is a great way to quickly tap from collective wisdom. Look for people who don’t think like you and who are solution-oriented to help you think through issues. Work with those whose constructive questioning can give you fresh insights

Think on paper: Many people try to keep track of everything they need to do in their mind; this can be counterproductive. When you try thinking in your head, things can get cluttered. Learn to write your thoughts down because once the information is out of your head, it’s easier to get clarity and to figure out what to do.

Skip ‘status quo’ mode: Acknowledging the status quo helps to establish your bearings and to decide what new actions would make a difference. But staying in status quo mode leads to stagnation. Constructive dissatisfaction enables you to question what currently is in a way that yields you to better alternatives.

Be open-minded: Strong opinions, negative assumptions and sometimes seemingly harmless prejudices can take us backwards. Neutralise this tendency by keeping company with people who challenge you and stop you from thinking in ‘this is the way it’s always been’ terms.

Read, read, read: Reading is one of the quickest ways to enrich your mind. The more good material you read, the quicker the negative and outdated thoughts are flashed out. Go out of your way to read material different from what you normally would. This will stretch your mind as you take in new knowledge and unusual perspectives.

Now take action: What are the three ways you could adopt to improve your mind?

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