Sustained Thinking How to Solve Problems
Do you have a problem you are wrestling with? I have a solution—a technique that works for any problem—sustained thinking. The concept is simple, yet challenging, seemingly impossible for us to do. So I am going to share with you how it works and challenge you to try it today.
A Child of War
As a child, I grew up in the Lebanese Civil War. The terror I faced as a child was mostly in the form of bombs falling on residential areas. These bombs were intentionally targeted at the populace with the goal to break the will of the people. This was my environment off and on from 1976, the year I was born, to 1990, the year my family moved to the United States.
There were many weapons and types of bombs used. Even as young children, we became experts in what was what—and we knew the worst was a rocket launcher. This is one that discharged fifteen to twenty bombs at a single target in quick consecutive hits. The bombs literally hit within a few feet of one another. While one bomb would destroy a single target, a rocket launcher of fifteen to twenty bombs would obliterate it. There was no chance of survival if you were on the end of a rajme (a rocket launcher).
A Tactic to Destroy Problems
I share this illustration to demonstrate how we can obliterate a problem when we give it an onslaught of mental attack, or sustained thinking. Here is how to start.
Block fifteen minutes today to think about one problem. Not while driving home, not while exhausted from work, not reclining in your chair with your feet propped on the desk and your head in your hands. These are not positions for attack.
Rather, set aside fifteen minutes when you feel alert. Close your office door. Shut down your phone. Eliminate distractions for just fifteen minutes. Take several blank papers, and tackle a single problem with a rapid fire of ideas.
As an idea comes to mind, even if it seems to be in the periphery, write it down. This does not have to be a narrative, or a paragraph. If you prefer, it can be, but I think this works best if you give yourself permission to write words or phrases, draw, mark it with arrows, etc. Give yourself permission to draw one big circle per page if you want to. Just don’t leave this problem for fifteen minutes. Give it your focused, creative, sustained thinking power.
Try it today. As leaders, we are always dealing with multiple issues personally, professionally, financially, and spiritually. If we focused only fifteen minutes a day on targeted thinking, we would be giving more intentional, sustained thinking to our problems than most. As you become more disciplined, increase your sessions. Imagine then, how many problems you could obliterate.
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