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Think for a Change

I'm not sure where it originated, but I've heard it repeated time and time again: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. As much sense as that statement makes, we often find ourselves addressing the same issue with solutions that are little more than rearranged expressions of previously failed solutions. Why can't we develop new solutions to persistent problems? Because we refuse to think!

Chris Argyris first articulated the concept of double-loop learning. Stop; don't close the window... this is easier than it sounds. Once you get a handle on it, you will be better prepared to address the problems you face with solutions that might actually work!

Let's back into the idea. Let's say you have a persistent problem in one area of your life--for instance, finances. You always seem to come up short in your cash flow. That is a consequence of a strategy based on assumptions. There are the three parts to the process.

Many times, people experience negative consequences so they develop new strategies. After a while, they discover that the new strategies produced the same results as the old strategies. So, they lapse into an endless cycle of strategizing to overcome failed efforts.

In personal finance, people find themselves in debt, so they borrow money to get out of debt. Note: the strategy that caused the problem won't often be the solution to that problem!

The real solution to the problem requires a careful evaluation of the assumptions upon which the failed strategies are based. This is tough because it requires people to change their minds and their actions. Yet, real solutions can't be developed apart from this process.

In personal finance, an individual must determine that personal debt is not the solution to the problems encountered at the end of the month. Granted most people carry huge loads of debt; but most people are broke! It's not working for them, why will it work for you?

The consequences you face are a result of the strategies you develop. The strategies are rooted in your assumptions about the way things really are. If you want to solve problems and stop pretending to be a victim of your circumstances, you'll embrace a new way of thinking. Otherwise, you're doomed to repeat encounters with the same negative consequences.

Get control of your thinking or someone will be glad to think for you!

Dr. Terry Hadaway is author of 30 Seconds to Chaos: Mastering the Art of "What If" Thinking and numerous articles. Visit http://www.30secondstochaos.com for more information on Dr. Hadaway and his straightforward approach to winning at life!

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