Years ago, in a class designed to help business leaders think creatively, I was introduced to a concept called open and closed mode thinking. This concept has helped me ever since! Here’s the gist of it:
* Imagine a funnel. The top end (where the funnel is the widest) represents how the mind functions when thinking in the open mode. The narrow end of the funnel represents closed mode thinking.
* We need to employ both open and closed mode thinking to solve problems.
* In the open mode, we allow ideas to flow freely, without judgment about the worth of an idea.
* There is then a sifting or narrowing of ideas as we move to closed mode. When we arrive in closed mode, we have in mind one “best” idea which we will then action.
* Most of us lean toward one end or the other of this spectrum, and we need to engage both open and closed mode thinking to generate and bring to life the best ideas.
I am convinced that I live too much of life these days in the closed mode, actioning lists and completing tasks. My nature has always been open mode thinking. Somewhere in the midst of family life, seminary, and a full plate, I began to narrow my own thoughts, moving too quickly to actioning, to get through busy days.
I have noticed, however, that as I engage in a day of rest, my mind flips into the open mode more easily. I am able to generate more ideas, and have time to kick them around a bit and let them take root.
Try it on your next Sabbath…let your mind open wide and see what new ideas may be birthed as you actively engage in open mode thinking.