THE STEPHEN GOWER BLOG

Just Like Thinking

by | Leadership, Thoughts

 Underneath my picture in my Senior High School Annual is the following quote:

“Minds are like cement. All mixed up and permanently set.”

The key word is “like”.

When it comes to raising my creativity and performance levels, I can think of no single principle that has helped me more than “Just Like Thinking.” “Just Like Thinking” will merit all the determination, discipline, and commitment you can muster.

These examples will prove helpful

In The Art of Killing Kudzu, I compared the negative attitude that some team members have to kudzu that obstinate, cantankerous, and robust vine that grows wild and chokes out the good stuff.

In Celebrate the Butterflies Presenting with Confidence in Public. I compared the three different reactions to the “butterflies” that hover over the flowers at the Gower get to gathers to the three different reactions that we can have in relation to our nervous energy, “our butterflies,” about speaking in public.

When it comes to the literal butterflies, there are three different reactions at the Gower get to gathers. There is the toddler who tries to catch and kill the butterflies, there is the teenager who ignores the butterflies, and there is the adult who celebrates the colors of the butterflies. In Celebrate the Butterflies, one learns how to channel his or her nervous energy about speaking in public. We can try to catch our nervousness and kill it, it will not go away. We can try to ignore our nervousness that will not work either. Just like the adult, we can learn to celebrate the nervous energy and learn to make it work for us.”

In my fourth book, I was so direct about my “Just Like Thinking” that it actually revealed itself in the very first word Like a Pelican in the Desert Leadership Redefined:  Beyond Awkwardness. I compared the “out of place” sensations within the leadership that seems awkward to how a pelican (a large water bird) must feel in a desert (a dry, barren expanse of land).

Again in my eighth book, I used “Just Like Thinking” to exhort a reach for the sky attitude. Think Like a Giraffe is a prime example of just like thinking. The tall, long neck animal is used to illustrate a reach for the sky attitude. 

I am aware that the preferred term is “just as” not “just like.” However, I have never experienced “just as” to be as descriptive, precise, or powerful as “just like.” “Just like” seems to emphasize the comparing” activity or virtue behind this breed of thinking. For our purposes, “Just Like Thinking” is a very creative connection, hinge, extension, elaboration, or hybrid interpretation. It can lead to higher levels of creativity and performance. 

Perhaps these examples will prove helpful

Just like someone decided to take free water, bottle it and sell it, why can I not take free air (oxygen), bottle it and sell it? (Incidentally, they are doing that very successfully in Canada.) Just like someone decided to sell beverages at a gas station, why can I not sell hamburgers in a home and building supply center?

Just like a football player can fumble and recover the football, so can we move beyond our fumble and score a win. Just like a cheerleader who tumbles off a pyramid, and breaks a bone, and in time, can move beyond the broken bone. We too can move beyond our poor choices and our lack of knowledge.

The next time you see a giraffe, think like her and reach for the sky.

It will require a positive direction of thinking, your firm discipline of approach, and your delight in your journey.

ABOUT STEPHEN GOWER
Stephen is the best-selling author of 26 books, including What Do They See When They See You Coming? He has also written countless articles for a variety of publications and has produced multiple audio books and video programs. Stephen has appeared on PBS Television and XM Sirius Satellite Radio. He continues to hold one of the highest invite-back ratios in the speaking profession.