3-Minute Thinking

            Make decisions, solve problems and resolve conflicts in less time without worry or stress.


Eric M. Bienstock, Ph.D.

Vice-Principal, School of Thinking (www.SchoolOfThinking.org)

eric@3MinuteThinking.com       www.3MinuteThinking.com




Are you a 3-Minute Thinker?


Try this quiz


Part 1:


Answer TRUE or FALSE.


1.  We're all born skilled thinkers.

2.  Thinking requires a weekend, a hammock and a pitcher of lemonade.

3.  Breakthrough ideas come about mostly by accident.

4.  Feelings usually prevent good thinking.

5.  Smart people are the best thinkers.

6.  Too much thinking leads to inaction and too little thinking leads to superficiality.


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1.  FALSE.  While we are all born with a basic ability to think, that ability is rudimentary compared to what can be achieved by someone who develops their thinking as a true skill.

2.  FALSE.  Thinking -- that is skilled thinking -- is a focused, deliberate activity that is done in short, concentrated bursts.

3.  FALSE.  While some of the great ideas have indeed come about by accident (e.g., an apple hitting the head of Isaac Newton), most ideas come about through focused, deliberate thinking.

4.  FALSE.  While this may be true for an unskilled thinker, part of the skill of thinking requires detaching oneself from one's ego and separating the feelings from the thinking.

5.  FALSE.  In fact, smart people are often the worst thinkers.  They often use their knowledge to defend a position instead of being willing to re-think or take a new position.  That's one of the reasons children exhibit so much creativity potential.

6.  FALSE.  If done skillfully, thinking can be done in 3-minute bursts. Sometimes more than one such burst is required.  Often the best decisions can be made in only a few such bursts.  In either case, the purpose of skilled thinking is always to get a result.




Part 2:


Multiple Choice.


1.     Thinking is most like:

a.         philosophy

b.         psychology

c.          karate

2.  Solving a problem is a matter of:

a.         finding the right answer

b.         using one proven technique

c.          discovering what works

3.  Resolving a conflict is a matter of:

a.         getting your way

b.         proving your adversary wrong

c.    bridging the gap between disagreement and agreement

4.  Tough decisions require:

a.         lots of information

b.         long periods of thinking

c.          short, focused bursts of thinking

5.  If you want to involve other people in your thinking, it’s best to:

a.         ask others what they would do

b.         let someone else decide

c.          ask others for structured, thinking input


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1.  c.  A skilled thinker knows how to think deliberately in a skillful manner, just as a karate expert can apply skilled blows to achieve a powerful effect.  Philosophy and psychology are concerned more with describing human thinking than actually doing it.

2.  c.  Often there are many possible solutions that produce the desired result, and it usually requires trying different techniques.  Rarely is there one right answer, and rarely will the same technique work in every case.

3.  c.  Conflicts are usually based not on the facts but on different perceptions.  Resolution occurs when those perceptions are more aligned.  Getting your way or proving your adversary wrong may work in the short term but will not resolve the underlying conflict.

4.  c.  Even the toughest decisions can be made with a short, concentrated thinking effort.  Taking more time often just produces needless worry and stress; waiting for more information is often just a way to delay making the decision.

5.  c.  Asking others for their “thinking input” in a structured form can be useful, and give others a sense of being involved in the result.  Just asking someone for an opinion is too open-ended to be useful, and letting others do your thinking for you can be hazardous to your future!


Change your thinking and all else will follow.





Copyright 2000 by Eric M. Bienstock, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.