Sometimes, the simplest ideas can jar your thinking and cause you to see your situation in a completely different way. The key is for you to always be open to the possibility that whatever you are doing, you could be completely wrong. There could be a completely different and better way to do almost anything, and there usually is. This requires you to be mentally flexible.
How to be mentally flexible
Here are seven tools you can use to increase your mental flexibility and agility
This requires that you stop the clock, take a time-out, and stand back to look at your situation objectively. Ask yourself three questions:
- What am I trying to do?
- How am I trying to do it?
- Could there be a better way?
Whenever you experience frustration or resistance of any kind in your attempt to achieve your goals, step back and ask yourself these three questions.
Very often you will find that what you are trying to do is not the correct thing to do, or it is not as important as it used to be. You may find that the way you are trying to do it is not working. And by asking if there could be a better way, you open your mind to an infinite number of possibilities, because there is almost always a better way.
Practice zero-based thinking, and consider the possibilities of doing things completely differently. Whenever you are not happy with an ongoing situation, ask yourself, “If I were not now in this situation, knowing what I now know, would I get into it again today?”
If the answer is no, how do you get out of it, and how fast?
Look for ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your operations by moving people and resources around and by deploying them in different ways.
- What are your most important goals in your work and business right now? Have they changed?
- Who are your most important, valuable, and productive people?
- How can you reorganise your work so that your best and most productive people are focussed on your most important goals and greatest opportunities?
This involves moving your people and resources into the 20 per cent of activities that can account for 80 percent of your results.
- What are the 20 per cent of results that account for 80 per cent of the income and profits of your business?
- What are the top 20 per cent of your activities that account for 80 per cent of your total results?
- Who are the top 20 per cent of your staff who produce 80 per cent of the total results?
In business, your primary concern should be revenue generation. Move your very best people into those areas where they can have the greatest positive effect on generating more revenue for your company.
Continually seek ways to simplify your work and life by delegating, outsourcing, downsizing, or eliminating certain activities.
- What activities or processes can you simplify and streamline so they can be done faster and with less time and money?
- What activities can you delegate to others or outsource to specialist companies?
- What activities could you eliminate altogether with no real loss of productivity, sales, or profitability?
Each time you ask one of these questions, you will stimulate your creativity and get answers that you can apply to streamline your business and get more and better results, faster and cheaper.
Continually imagine what you would do differently if you were starting over again today. Imagine starting your business or department over again today.
- What would you do differently?
- What would you do more of?
- What would you do less of?
- What would you start doing that you are not doing right now?
- What would you stop doing altogether?
These questions will give you ideas and insights every time you ask them. What should you do more of, less of, start, or stop?
7. Regaining control
This requires that you take specific action in your work and business based on your answers to the six R’s above.
- What one action are you going to take immediately regarding your own personal work and activities?
- What one action are you going to take immediately regarding your staff?
- What one action are you going to take immediately regarding the business itself?
In each case, imagine that you have no limits. Imagine that you have all the time and money, all the talents and abilities, all the friends and contacts, and all the resources you need to be, do, or have anything in your business or personal life.
Your main job is to become absolutely clear about the right thing, the best thing, to do and then to commit wholeheartedly to the new course of action.
Action exercises to become mentally flexible
- Examine your personal and corporate business model. Ask yourself if there could be a better way for you to generate sales, profitability, and personal income.
- Apply the KWINK analysis to every part of your business and personal life. “Knowing What I Now Know, is there anything that I am doing that I would not get into again today if I had it to do over?”
- What should you do more of, less of, start, or stop altogether to get different and better results?
Spot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!