As a student of cognitive science, I am fascinated by the topic of thinking styles. How we approach problems, make decisions, and generate ideas has a direct impact on our tools, products, resource management, and ultimately, our return on investment. The topic usually begins with the disclaimer that there is no one thinking style better than others, but that is BS. Different thinking styles do lead to different outcomes, and understanding them is crucial to managing our performance. In particular, two thinking styles have caught my attention: linear thinking vs exponential thinking.
By default, our brain thinks linearly. It prefers to think in small steps within our space of possibilities, taking a step-by-step approach that progressively takes us into the unknown. On the other hand, our brain tends to avoid exponential thinking, which involves jumping hoops within our space of possibilities. This is why design thinking is hard for most people. Imagination and creativity are not the preferred ways of thinking in organizations. Exponential thinking is a more holistic and creative approach that involves looking at the big picture and considering all possible outcomes. This non-linear approach pushes us to think of multiple scenarios at the same time and find innovative solutions.
While compounding is the greatest discovery of our times, our brains struggle to fathom the power of e power x. They have difficulty understanding both positive and negative compounding. No wonder we break compounding without batting an eye. It is easy to be ignorant about compounding.
Exponential thinking, as a thinking style, changes the way you look at your efforts and investments, both in work and in life.
I am excited to cover thinking styles in our upcoming mentor circles session. Any topic that is part of "I wish someone had taught me this in school" is my primary focus in my mentor circles. I am glad we started this and have exponentially changed the way mentorship usually works.