7 strategies that encourage independent thinking

By Greg Nathan | 07 May 2021 View comments

Here are some tips for those who value the importance of clear, independent thinking:

1. If something doesn’t seem right, remember this is your brain giving you a message. Try to identify what doesn’t make sense. I find just asking myself, “What’s going on here?” can be helpful. You may realise the concern is not important after all, but you may discover there is indeed something going on that needs to be addressed.

2. Learn to raise concerns in the form of tentative questions or clarifying statements. For instance, “Could you please just explain that to me a little more?” or “I’d find it useful if you could tell me how you arrived at that conclusion.” One of my team, who is extremely smart, often says “Sorry to ask what is probably a dumb question but…..?” (It usually turns out that her ‘dumb question’ is not so dumb.)

3. Remind yourself that you probably know as much as most other people, and that just because they say something you don’t understand, it doesn’t mean they are right. Speak up and ask for clarification.

4. Maintain a growth mindset, which can be defined as trying to improve, rather than prove ourself. When we try to prove ourself we are more likely to fall into the trap of saying things we think will please others or make us look good, rather than seeking the best solutions.

5. If you are a lone voice in situation which you believe is not right, seek an ally. There is great power in having supporters when you are trying to raise important issues or make useful changes.

6. Don’t mindlessly adopt the latest fads, assumptions, or cliches just because others have. The fact is, these are often contrived by people who don’t know what they are talking about, have a personal agenda, or are trying to make money by bamboozling us. Use your common sense and don’t do or say things just because other are.

7. Develop a philosophy of life based on your personal experience of what works and feels right. And use this to guide your decisions and actions. I have also found it helpful to seek out mentors and role models who seem to be motivated by a search for the truth, rather than seeking name, fame or money.

This is an extract from Greg Nathan’s Healthy Franchise Relationship Tips #214: Seven ways to know your own mind.