Your Original Thinking Cheat Sheet

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Harnessing the power of original thinking can make you more successful, says psychologist and author Dr Adam Grant. Here’s your two-minute guide to how new ways of thinking can help you meet challenges in your work and personal life and lead to positive changes

If You Don’t Know Where To Start, Then Question The Default

Instead of taking the status quo for granted, ask why it exists in the first place. When you remember that rules and systems were created by people, it becomes clear that they’re not set in stone – and you begin to consider how they can be improved.

If You’re Stuck In A Rut, Then Try Something New

Originality increases when you broaden your frame of reference. One approach is to learn a new craft, like the Nobel Prize-winning scientists who expanded their creative repertoires by taking up painting, piano or poetry. Another strategy is to try a job rotation: get trained to do a position that requires new skill and knowledge.

If You Get Carried Away, Then Take A Strategic Break

When you’re generating new ideas, deliberately stop when your progress is incomplete. By taking a break in the middle of your brainstorming or creative process, you’re more likely to engage in divergent thinking and give ideas time to incubate.

If You Need Helpful Criticism, Then Seek Feedback From Peers

It’s hard to judge your own ideas, because you tend to be too enthusiastic. It’s also tough to rely on managers, who are typically too critical when they evaluate ideas. To get the most accurate reviews, run your pitches by peers – they’re better placed to spot the potential and possibilities.

If Things Aren’t Going Your Way, Then Take The Initiative

If you don’t take the initiative, the status quo will persist. There are four responses to dissatisfaction: exit, voice, persistence and neglect. Only exit and voice improve your circumstances. Speaking up may be the best route if you have some control over the situation; if not, it may be time to explore options for expanding your influence or leaving.

Originals by Adam Grant is out now (£8.99, WH Allen), check price on

Coach Staff

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