In teaching thinking skills I've often been asked, "Isn't this just the same as positive thinking?" My answer, of course, is NO.
Everything in life is clearly NOT positive. Many things are indeed negative. Cruel. Disastrous. Survival is constantly under threat. Growth is not always possible. Many problems are deep and costly. Getting exponentially worse. Even wicked. Pretending they are positive can be a mere substitute for the serious thinking effort required to deal with the sharp realities of the day. Quite far from positive thinking is the kind of design thinking we promote in SOT (with tools and apps like cvs2bvs). cvs2bvs is for finding better ways not merely positive ways. x10 thinking is for problem-solving not just problem-dissolving. It's not for avoiding problems but for designing testable solutions. x10 thinking = (trial x10) + (error x10).
x10 thinking is not easy. It's hard work. x10 thinking is how to take the things that you have -- problems and opportunities -- and design ways, generate alternatives, explore possibilities and test options to add value or make them better. This is the real return on payroll. This is design work. This is cognitive effort. There is risk. There is uncertainty. Just pretending things will be positive is no substitute for thinking.
Hope (or prayer, for that matter) is NOT a strategy. A strategy IS the deliberate and rigorous search for much better truths than the ones we currently have. Not everyone will be willing to do this.
If you've got ten minutes, here's a balanced and nicely animated discussion of the negatives of "positive thinking" by award-winning thinker, Barbara Ehrenreich.
I hope you become comfortable with the use of logic without being deceived into concluding that logic will inevitably lead you to the correct conclusion.
– Neil Armstrong, USC 2005 graduation address.
One of the complaints I hear again and again from most people in business is the amount of time that they waste each and every day in business meetings.
These are meetings where the truth is never told, where decisions are never made and where everyone plays along until the meeting ends so they can rush off to their next meeting.
It’s a very rare business meeting where one finds that there’s not an elephant lurking in the room.
My own experience has been that in far too many business meetings the room is so full of elephants that there seems hardly enough room for those in the meeting. And, like the Emperor’s clothes, the elephants are all naked!!
DFQ: In your next meeting, instead of paying attention to the ‘Agenda’, you can see if you can spot how many elephants there are in the room.