I bet you didn’t know you’re wearing blinders – you know, those leather or plastic screens attached to a horse’s bridle, next to its eyes, that keeps it focused on what’s in front of it and prevents it from seeing what’s next to it and behind it.
Not literally, of course. That would be ridiculous.
But if you’re like most people, you’re wearing mental blinders that limit your ability to think, create and problem solve effectively.
Your field of vision has been narrowed.
You’ve lost sight of the big picture.
Here’s the amazing part: Most people don’t realize they’re wearing them.
Why not? Because you’ve been programmed into a limited, linear way of thinking all our lives. Think about it: Starting in primary school, it’s drilled your brain that every question has only one correct answer. Independent, creative thinking is frequently discouraged. Compliance and the ability to regurgitate knowledge is rewarded.
This continues into your adult life, where your employer rewards you for following orders and being a good team player. You’re expected to follow orders and be as efficient as possible. Variations and anomalies must be eliminated. Presenting a bad idea could be a career-limiting move, so you learn to keep your ideas to yourself.
Even the tools you use reinforce this form of linear, straight-ahead thinking. Documents, spreadsheets, presentations and databases follow a linear format and make it hard to see the underlying structure of your thinking.
So you willingly strap on our blinders and fall into lockstep with all the other human automatons around you, in the name of making a living. And then you forget you’re wearing them. They just become an invisible part of “who you are” and how you operate.
Sometimes you get an inkling that maybe there’s a better way of thinking, planning and problem solving. But that fleeting thought quickly passes, and it’s back to the routine of “business as usual.”
When business was largely status quo, this old-fashioned way of thinking was strikingly efficient. It enabled businesses to scale to unimaginable sizes. But today is different. Your employer is struggling to navigate the white water rapids of accelerating, discontinuous change and uncertainty. The old ways of thinking just aren’t as effective any more.
If you want to be successful during these uncertain times, you need to upgrade your thinking and cast off your blinders.
The solution to thinking blinders
Mind mapping software can help you to remove your blinders and consider a broader range of potential solutions. Here’s why:
- It leverages the brain’s powerful associative capabilities to help you see new connections and relationships that weren’t apparent before.
- Its design encourages you to do lateral thinking – which literally means “thinking sideways.” In other words, it helps you break out of your well-worn paths of thinking that may be getting tapped out from overuse and enables you to expand your thinking and brainstorming into fertile new areas of promising ideas and compelling possibilities.
- It gives you a powerful way to deconstruct challenges into their component parts so you can explore underlying causes and contributing factors – giving you new insights into what’s wrong and how to solve it.
- It can help you better understand the motivations of stakeholders who may be positively or negatively affected by your ideas.
- It’s a powerful platform for brainstorming ideas, organizing and evaluating them and then developing implementation plans for the most promising ones.
- You can integrate creative problem-solving techniques such as SCAMPER and 5 Whys, into your mind map to serve as catalysts for your thinking.
The effect of using mind mapping software for thinking, brainstorming and planning is like removing blinders from a horse: you’re suddenly able to “see” in all directions, which significantly enhances your ability to generate and implement effective solutions.
So what are you waiting for?
Cast off your blinders and expand your thinking. Your brain (and your employer) will thank you for it!