Hey Friends,

I was thinking about adaptive thinking 💭 🤔 ?, From my perspective, it is the most powerful skill to develop to find successful outcomes in any enviornment. 

Do you remember, we have always been told that good thinking is the result of reading books? There is no doubt that books carry tons of wisdom and learnings from various walks of life, however, you can’t only rely on what you know in unexpected or dynamically developing situations. This is one of the reason why I am a great fan of OODA Loop ( Observe, Orient, Decide & Act concept). You need adaptive thinking to survive.

So adaptive thinking is the ability to recognize unexpected situations, quickly consider various possible responses, and decide on the best one. Essentially, it is the ability to be logical at high speed. In other words, it represents your speed of decision wherein you perform well at the highest levels, by having the ability not only to think well but to think flexibly and quickly.

Primary Components of Adaptive Thinking

• Effective planning

• Careful monitoring of progress

• The ability to flexibly shift thinking and behaviour to accommodate circumstantial changes.

How to Develop adaptive thinking

The biggest hurdle preventing you from having a good response is not allowing your mind to wander.

Employing the power of adaptive thinking requires work and open-mindedness. 

To become prolific in your thinking, you need to acquire these 3 components:

  1. Detailed planning
  2. What can go wrong
  3. Staying calm under pressure

You have to establish a few routines

Positive visualization exercises are undoubtedly powerful (they solidify and clarify your mental representations of your desired skill, to keep you on track). Still, there may also be a place for Negative Visualization – visualizing potential obstacles or setbacks that might arise during a performance.

Negative Visualization Routine

• Consider a list of potential obstacles or unanticipated setbacks that could occur during the performance.

• Practice visualizing and rehearsing the performance in your mind, and during each practice session, work on the obstacles one by one and be sure to visualize how you might feel in response to it and what action you would ideally take.

Use Deep Work Sprints

Deep work means performing professional activities in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capacities to their limit.

In order to truly improve your ability to focus, you must work at a high enough level that your attentional abilities are genuinely challenged and forced to grow and adapt to a higher level of achievement.

Exercise Your Divergent Thinking Muscle

Divergent Thinking is the mental muscle that is thought to underlay creativity. It involves generating multiple solutions or possibilities based on a single data point or idea. you can do it by planning in advance as to how you envision a task. Think about all the details and imagine doing the task in your head. All great sportspersons who perform on individual levcl do this before every game or race they are participating. 

Staying calm under pressure

Regardless of how carefully you plan for things, still things can go wrong and things will inevitably go wrong. In such times you will experience ‘emotional hijacking’, which means that your emotions block your ability to think. Anger, fear, and even positive sensation disable our ability to think clearly. When things go sideways, calmness is your best friend.

How to improve adaptive thinking

Developing adaptive thinking is not improving it. We also need to have a plan to further foster our adaptive thinking skills. The skills that make a professional successful are not based on how well they know the information in textbooks but on how they can handle situations based on their years of experience. 

To my mind, catalogueing and deep interactive sessions based on sharing practical experiences of handling specific situations is one of the best way to learn. 

And, I did find a piece of evidence for the same – Top Gun Academy turned out to be a great success because it built a library of case studies. Their air training sessions were recorded and later observed by the entire crew so that everyone knew how to respond to different situations. This helped the crew to build their own model as per their perceived strengths in order to handle critical situations.

What should be your – ‘Adaptive thinking strategy‘ –

Adaptive thinking is changing your usual behaviour quickly in response to unexpected or developing dynamic situations. A simple strategy to follow:

  1. Understand the complexity of the problem you are facing
  2. Be attentive so you can recognize immediately a change in the environment
  3. Implement a new strategy based on the new changes with calmness.

Become comfortable with uncomfortable situations. Understand that you can never fully prepare and there will always be something you don’t know how to do.

Take good care & enjoy reading your dose of cerebral happiness.


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