Think Optimistically: Over tens of thousands of years, the human brain has been trained to optimize around the notions of fear and scarcity. The reason for this is simple: The world our ancestors occupied was a scary place and it was hard to find food. I will be the first to admit that the world can be a dangerous place and that for too many people scarcity is still an all-too-real issue. For the majority of us, however, neither is true and it is worth taking some time occasionally to remind ourselves of the many ways the world is getting better. This article can help: Overcoming Pessimism with Abundance and Optimism. (One helpful tip: Watch carefully what “news” you put into your mind. Don’t allow the editors of CNN, Fox, MSNBC–or whatever your preferred news source is–to determine what “news” they put into your head. All of them–regardless of their political orientation–profit by selling you fear as well as by making money from advertisers who are trying to tell you don’t have “enough”.)
Think Ambiguously: I have said this before and I will say it again, all three of these statements can be–and are–true: 1) The world is getting better; 2) the world is getting worse; and 3) the world can be better. It behooves all of us to focus our thinking time on the third option. My advice: Look for people and organizations who are striving to improve the world.
Think Fast: The labor shortage is a real concern for many businesses. Technology can obviously help. A case in point is this story about Chipotle now using a robot (appropriately dubbed “Autocado”) to peel, pit and mix avocados into guacamole. (Apparently, making huge amounts of guacamole is one of the least desirable jobs for employees at Chipotle. Who knew?)
Think in Questions: Critical Thinking is About Asking Better Questions. I loved this article–and while it is behind a paywall–it is worth tracking down. (If you can’t find the article please feel free to email me and I’ll forward you a PDF.) I particularly enjoyed this piece of advice: “Start by holding your hypotheses loosely.” A corollary to this idea is: “Hold strong opinions, lightly.”
Think Different: This article, “Smart Glasses skew power balance with non-wearers,” was an interesting read. While, personally, I believe “smart glasses” have great potential. For the technology to reach this potential, however, it must also be friendly to non-users. The article suggests that this is not currently the case. Non-users don’t like that they don’t know what is happening on the other side of the glasses. They also fear that the users of the smart glasses might be being recording them without their permission. Furthermore, it is difficult to sustain effective communication when you can’t see the user’s eyes.
Afterthought: “The free exploring mind of the individual is the most valuable thing in the world.“–John Steinbeck