How to Think (Not What to Think) When We're Trying to Figure Something Out
February 2, 2021
Notes from the Co-Founder, Jane Lorand
This body of work is about the process of our thinking. It is not about the thought, itself. A process is in movement: it requires steps, elements, a nourishing culture of open creativity, and discipline to check for quality.
Imagine a beautiful holiday cake set out around a lovely table. We can enjoy the taste, texture, and appearance of the cake, knowing that each guest will appreciate different qualities. The cake is a finished product. (Many of us hold thoughts as “finished products.”)
Yet, that does not help us to create such a cake, nor our unique variation of a holiday cake. The baker(s) used a disciplined process with steps, ingredients, with high consciousness as they strove for quality and beauty. Two or more bakers need to agree on a consistent, sequenced process and its value.
We could draw a similar comparison with watching a ballroom dancing performance. It is a process that is visible with identifiable steps, elements, creativity and discipline – and it is in motion. We witness the product unfolding but without the process taken up by both dancers, there is no product. It can be the same with our collective thinking processes.
These Labs are about the processes and elements that make for a well-reasoned conclusion or judgment. We can apply the process whenever we are trying to figure something out. We likely have heard of concepts or perspectives, opportunities or assumptions. Yet, we haven’t been taught the process that can yield solid reasoning that is able to be discussed openly.
If we understand the process, we can make it work for us and help us explain to others how we are thinking without being defensive. It can help us understand how others are thinking. We can experience productive conversation and exploration without threatening anyone. We can overcome fixed, deadened thoughts that take us nowhere. The polarization we witness is an aggregation of fixed, rigid thoughts.
This is why GreenMBA alumni tell us that they still use the processes they learned from us every day as they meet the day’s challenges. How many courses did you take that you draw from every day to help you navigate your challenges?
Catalytic Thinking Labs
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