I want to change the way you think about things in a fundamental way. In this post, I will walk you trough a new thought philosophy I call high impact thinking. I came up with the idea for creating this new thought philosophy when I started thinking how I’ve been operating and thinking about things during the last couple of years. Many times, I’ve put myself in a situation where I set a goal so high that it cannot be achieved using my existing ways of doing things or by following widely adopted “best practices”. Also, I’ve seen many amazing people I’ve had the privilege to work and interact with driving themselves in a similar situations, frequently. Why on earth would you do so? Well, I strongly believe that in these kinds of situations where you have scarce resources and simply following existing processes or “best practices” do not help you to achieve your goal, you can unleash your inner potential. To find a way out, you need to apply high impact thinking. Ok, right now you are probably thinking what the hell is high impact thinking and how you can take advantage of it in your everyday life.
The core of High Impact Thinking philosophy is to focus on the impact above all else. When you start thinking impact first, it changes the way you operate in a fundamental way. Before, I used to be a firm believer of following “best practices”. What I have learned over the years, is that one rarely can create and do something extraordinary by following them. The reason for this is that “best practices” are tied to existing processes. I strongly believe that following existing processes prevent people from achieving their maximum potential. They limit the way people think about things. When you are about to create or do something extraordinary you need to think differently. You need to think about the impact.
The way High Impact Thinking works is actually extremely simple and everybody can use it. Literally anyone. It all starts with goal setting. The goal has to be an ambitious one. One that cannot be achieved with existing resources. The second step is to achieve this goal, no matter what. This is when the magic happens (High Impact Thinking). You need to throw away the ways you have operated in the past. You need to stop following existing processes and best practices. You need to figure out a new, innovative way to achieve your goal. I believe that people come up with great ideas, ideas they would have otherwise thought about, in situations when their resources are limited. When your resources are limited, you need to think really hard what will move the needle and focus on the impact.
High impact thinking is scary. In order to apply this thought philosophy in your daily life, you need to be willing to jump to the unknown and accept the risk of failing. As Read Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn puts it: “in order to jump off a cliff, you kind of have to believe you can assemble a plane on the way down.” High impact thinking comes naturally to startup founders. They are trying to achieve something that nobody else has never done before, with extremely scarce resources. And still, against all odds, they manage to pull it off surprisingly often. Of course, not all founders make it. However, they are willing to take the risk of failing. You get the point.
Next, I give you a challenge where you need to apply high impact thinking to solve a practical problem many of us might have. Let’s assume that you want to read more non-fiction books in order to learn more about how the world works.(goal setting) However, you have a limited amount of time and can’t achieve the learning using traditional reading methods. (scarce resources) This is when the high impact thinking comes to play. You throw away everything you know about reading books focus on how you can learn more in a limited time. What do you do next? (apply high impact thinking)
I had this challenge myself recently and in my next post, I’ll tell you how I used high impact thinking to solve this challenge.