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Adaptive Thinking: How High-Performers Think When It Matters Most | Nick Wignall

Establish a Negative Visualization Routine

Positive visualization exercises are undoubtedly powerful (they solidify and clarify your mental representations of your desired skill, to keep you on track), but there may also be a place for Negative Visualization - visualizing potential obstacles or setback that might arise during a performance.

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Adaptive Thinking: How High-Performers Think When It Matters Most | Nick Wignall

Adaptive Thinking: How High-Performers Think When It Matters Most | Nick Wignall

https://nickwignall.com/adaptive-thinking/

nickwignall.com

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Key Ideas

Adaptive Thinking

It involves the ability to recognize unexpected situations, quickly consider various possible responses, and decide on the best one.

It means performing well at the highest levels, by having the ability not only to think well but to think flexibly and quickly.

Primary components of Adaptive Thinking

  • Effective planning
  • Careful monitoring of progress
  • The ability to flexibly shift thinking and behavior to accommodate circumstantial changes.

Establish a Negative Visualization Routine

Positive visualization exercises are undoubtedly powerful (they solidify and clarify your mental representations of your desired skill, to keep you on track), but there may also be a place for Negative Visualization - visualizing potential obstacles or setback that might arise during a performance.

Negative Visualization Routine

  1. Generate a list of potential obstacles or unanticipated setbacks that could occur during the performance.
  2. Practice visualizing and rehearsing the performance in your mind, and during each practice session, work in one of the obstacles, being sure to visualize how you might feel in response to it and what action you would ideally take.

Use Deep Work Sprints

Deep work means performing professional activities in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capacities to their limit.

In order to truly improve your ability to focus, you must work at a high enough level that your attentional abilities are genuinely challenged and forced to grow and adapt to a higher level of achievement.

Exercise Your Divergent Thinking Muscle

Divergent Thinking is the mental muscle that is thought to underly creativity. It involves generating multiple solutions or possibilities based on a single data point or idea.

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  • Drop your shoulders, and let them completely loose. 
  • Feel your legs go limp, sinking and getting heavier, both of them, one by one.
  • Turn off your brain for 10 seconds, just like rebooting an iPhone.
  • Avoid thoughts at all costs. It is just 10 seconds, so anything from visualizing something or chanting will do. If you drift towards thoughts, you will start to activate your muscles automatically.
Divergent Thinking

Is the ability to generate many ideas or solutions from a single idea or piece of information. 

It’s thought to be one of, if not the most, important factor in creativity.

Convergent Thinking

Is the ability to take many pieces of information or data and generate one solution. 

It is largely taught and encouraged in schools and workplaces.

Exercising Divergent Thinking
  1. The Many Uses Exercise: Pick an ordinary object, set a timer for 5 minutes and try to come up with as many alternative uses for a paperclip as you can.
  2. 10 New Ideas: Every day for a week, try to come up with 10 new ideas within a specific topic or category.
  3. Daily Headlines: Imagine that your day was a news story in the New York Times. What would the headline be? 
  4. Articles on Trial: Challenge the conclusion of articles you read by coming up with one question you’d like to ask the author.
  5. Start to notice your automatic thoughts and generate alternatives to them.
Bruce Lee

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”

Bruce Lee
Making mistakes

Mistakes are opportunities for learning and for creating something truly new.

And the trick for making good mistakes is not trying to hide them. Be honest with yourself and really know your own mistakes, so that you learn from them and that you'll never repeat them.

Reductio ad absurdum

It's a mode of argumentation or a form of argument in which a proposition is disproven by following its implications logically to an absurd conclusion. 

Take an assertion and see if you can inquire about any contradictions out of it. If you can, that proposition has to be discarded.

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Remote Workshops

Collaborative workshops in a conference room where bright minds work shoulder-to-shoulder is an effective way to foster innovative ideas and forging intangible connections.

Remote worksho...

Clarity of the Workshop’s Value

Workshops are ‘co-creation’ time with people who have varied disciplines, backgrounds, and perspectives. 

To make these people show up, we need to make the invitations intriguing and something that provides value to the participant. It helps to send the invitations in advance, with follow-ups.

Conferencing Tools

Video Conferencing is a must-have for a remote workshop, while chat tools are not effective. In case there is any audio or video problem, phone in and take everyone into a conference call with your phone.

Collaborative tools: The whiteboards, sharpies, and post-it-notes can be replicated virtually with software like Invision Freehand for example.

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Cultural Intelligence (CQ)
Cultural Intelligence (CQ)
  • After IQ and EQ, Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is a new type of intelligence on the rise due to globalization and a complex, competitive and dynamic business environment.
  • Emp...
The Three Components Of Cultural Intelligence

Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is a system comprising of three well-connected components:

  1. Cultural Knowledge: The content and process knowledge of the various cultures.
  2. Cross-cultural Skills: A wide range of skills that pertain to the various facets of a culture, like relational, tolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity, adaptability, empathy, and the ability to understand other people's feelings.
  3. Cultural Metacognition: Also called cultural mindfulness, is the art of being aware of the cultural context, the subtleties of various situations, and the kind of strategies that can be taken.
How To Develop Cultural Knowledge

One can develop cultural knowledge through newspapers, movies, travelling to various countries, and interacting officially or personally with people of different cultures, learning new traditions, customs, cuisines, and rich new ways to live life.

One can identify and analyse the different cultures and utilize the knowledge in future.

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Breaks keep us from getting bored

The human brain just wasn’t built for the extended focus we ask of it these days.

The fix for this unfocused condition is simple—all we need is a brief interruption (aka a break) to ge...

Breaks and brain connections

Our brains have two modes:

  • focused mode, which we use when we’re doing things like learning something new, writing or working) and 
  • diffuse mode, which is our more relaxed, daydreamy mode when we’re not thinking so hard.

The mind solves its stickiest problems while daydreaming—something you may have experienced while driving or taking a shower.

Breaks help us reevaluate our goals

When you work on a task continuously, it’s easy to lose focus and get lost in the weeds. In contrast, following a brief intermission, picking up where you left off forces you to take a few seconds to think globally about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. 

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The power of morning routines
  • Routines drastically reduce the amount of logistical and psychological friction in between us and our goals.
  • Good routines are also powerful motivation generators. In add...
The secret to productive mornings
... is to make them easier, not earlier.

Forget about getting up insanely early every morning.  How much time we have in the mornings is far less important than how we spend the time we do have.

Prep your day the evening before

Reduce the number of decisions and tasks you have to do each morning in between waking up and doing your work:

  • Decide on and lay out your clothes for the following day the evening before and gather all other pieces of stuff you need (supplies, equipment).
  • Make your breakfast and lunch the night before and have it ready to grab in the fridge.

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Meta-Skills

A meta-skill is a high order skill that allows you to engage with functional expertise more effectively

It magnifies and activates other skills and is a catalyst for learning an...

Skills And Meta-Skills

Skills are temporary; meta-skills are permanent.

Learning a second language gives you a skill, a learned ability. A meta-skill, on the other hand, is your ability to learn new languages. Developing that meta-skill, makes it easier to learn a third or a fourth tongue.

Alvin Toffler
Alvin Toffler

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

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Stressing about sleep

Before a stressful work event, we tend to worry about what will happen if we don’t sleep well:

  • We worry that we’ll be physically tired.
  • We worry that ...
Sleep mistakes

... we make when it comes to sleeping well before a big day:

  • We try too hard to sleep and we end up making it harder to fall asleep.
  • We overestimate the negative consequences of poor sleep.
Sleep restriction

It's a technique for improving the quality of your sleep by using the power of Sleep Drive (the body’s natural need for sleep). Sleep Drive is built during the day: the longer you’re awake the stronger your need for sleep. 

Sleep Restriction temporarily restricts the quantity of your sleep so that you’re awake longer and therefore build up more Sleep Drive.

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High-pressure moments as a (fun) challenge

Most people see "pressure situations" as threatening, and that makes them perform even less well. 

But, "when you see the ...

One of many opportunities

Is this high-pressure situation a good opportunity? Sure. Is it the only opportunity you will ever have for the rest of your life? Probably not.

Before an interview or a big meeting, give yourself a pep talk: "I will have other interviews" (or presentations or sales calls). 

Focus on the task

Instead of worrying about the outcome, worry about the task at hand.

That means developing tunnel vision. When you keep your eye on the task at hand (and only the task at hand), all you can see is the concrete steps necessary to excel.

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