Zero to Startup: Active Thinking

July 4, 2007 - Get free updates of new posts here

“There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking.” -Thomas Edison

Night LightAccording to many scientific papers, what Edison was referring to was active thinking. Active thinking is when you deviate from automatic thinking. Automatic thinking is not necessarily bad. It makes out lives easier everyday because we don’t have to think about tasks that we had done before.

Active thinking is when you thinking about something that you have not thought before, or thinking in a new way. It is when you allow new thoughts to enter your mind and “play around” with those thoughts.

Sitting for ideas Dr. Gates (NOT Bill), who held many patents, would be called a startup guru if he was living today. He had the practice of going into a quiet, dark room, bringing only a pen and paper and actively thinking about a problem. He was so good at this that corporations started paying him to think for them.

Active thinking is a skill; some develop it automatically based on their social environment. Others, such as people living under dictatorships, have significantly lower scores on active thinking tests. Since it is a skill, it can be developed.

For Startups Active thinking can be used by startups to solve problems and come up with creative solutions. When money and other resources are tight, thinking might be the only solution.

Questions your brain has the “feature” of wanting closure. Anything that is incomplete takes up RAM. This could be a task that you are putting off or a big project that is looming ahead. Advertisers know this, that’s why so many ads include questions; they want to take up RAM so even if the ad is done running, you’re still processing their information.

You should use this feature to your benefit. Ask yourself a specific question and don’t be quick to answer it. Let it sit in your mind and you’ll soon receive many different answers. Some of the questions to consider: What am I good at? What value can I bring to people’s lives? What product can I bring to market? Where will this industry be in five years?

What are your experiences with active thinking?

(Another post by Andre Nosalsky)

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