Multiply Your Options

Are you an option thinker? Can you adapt to setbacks and see alternative solutions to problems? Can you see the value in being mentally limber and agile? Today, let’s talk about the importance of option thinking.

One of the marks of successful individuals and organizations is the ability to move on to another option when the one they are trying doesn’t work out. They are successful not only because they see themselves as problem solvers, but also because their minds hold an array of alternatives.

When you watch a skillful running back moving down the field in an American football game, you are actually seeing a lesson in the exercise of option thinking. The runner is making dozens of split-second adjustments and changes of direction as he runs, constantly looking for openings in what may seem like an impenetrable line of opposition. In other words, he’s looking for alternatives, thinking about his options. This kind of adaptability is important not only in football, where things get speeded up quite a bit, but also in life.

The more options you have, the more flexible you can be, and the more flexible you are, the less likely you are to break when the pressure is on. When you have options, you have choices, and when you have choices, you have personal power. This is what a growth, or flexible, mindset is all about. And you owe it to yourself to open up your mind to this kind of growth.

Now, take a moment and imagine what expanding this option thinking skill could mean to your family, your teams, departments or your entire organization. Everyone is flexible and adaptable, and the chances of successfully navigating any obstacle are multiplied by 10, by 100, by a 1000 or more.

You can train your mind to constantly look for alternatives – other ways to see things, other avenues to pursue, even if you don’t use them. Until you do need alternatives, these practice sessions will keep you in good shape, ready when the time comes to cope with the real thing.