Linear thinking is our default. We are very good at planning and making lists.
Linear thinking is simple and great because it keeps us organized and it’s a systematic and intuitive way of doing things.
The problem is the opportunity cost associated to linear thinking. Are all options explored? Is that the only way? How do I know what’s missing? When we generate tunnel vision, we can’t see what’s beyond. That’s an opportunity loss.
Many of our failures in the modern context of complexity comes from the application of linear thinking to complex adaptive challenges. In the business world, projects of predictable outcomes are best handled with waterfall, but applying the same method to projects of uncertainty will result in people getting lost, stuck and frustrated. Clearly, we need a different way of thinking.
So, get yourself unstuck with non-linear thinking.
Try lateral thinking. Ask what if questions and shift your perspective. Orient and parallel think of different scenarios.
Try divergent and convergent thinking. This originates from the deductive and inductive logic from ancient Greek times. This is the thinking basis of Design Thinking.
And finally, a thinking pattern I like to call mosaic thinking. Imagine spilling out everything in your brain onto a table. Then take a step back and look at the table and find patterns and connections. You might start generating a heat map. You might uncover bottlenecks. You might starting see where things can flow. You may be surprised with what you see and possibly there will be some unexpected great discoveries.
Combine these thinking patterns in anyway that you wish. And eventually, make it into a habit. Guaranteed, the world will start looking different.