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

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.

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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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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.
"Teaching" Sleep

During WWII, the U.S. military realized that if fighter pilots didn't get sleep, their poor decisions had dire consequences. Their mishaps included errors that resulted in their being shot down--or...

Combat Pilots Sleeping Hacks
  • Get into a comfortable position, wherever you are, like a bed, or a couch.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Relax your facial muscles, all of them, as it sends a signal to the brain that all is well. This makes your breathing slow and deep. 
  • 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.
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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