Think Flexibly - Adapted from Habits of Mind mini-course
If you never change your mind, why have one?
Successful people are good at flexible thinking. They are able alter perspectives, consider alternative points of view and change their minds when the data is no longer supporting their ideas.
However, being flexible in thinking doesn't necessarily mean you're always changing your mind. It means you're open to changing your mind, to considering alternatives, weighing up options and then choosing the best way forward. A person who changes their mind all the time just becuase they've thought of something different, with out evaluation, can be seen as wishy washy or indecisive.
Often the effort to see alternatives will help to generate a better solution. But many people find this effort difficult. We assume that we naturally come up with the best option - or at least a very good one. What we typically fail to recognise is that our mind works in patterns and it usually takes a deliberate effort to escape these patterns.
Our brains are very good at recognising and using patterns. By using patterns in our every day life decisions become easier and we can switch a large part of our working cognitive capacity to other more important issues. For example, most of us don't have to consider the route we drive to work each day. It's become automatic, and in doing so frees up our mind to think of other things on the way to work.
For example, you may have heard the phrase "if the only tool you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail". In many ways this describes a person who is poor at thinking flexibly. Our experience will tend to push us, unconsiously, towards looking at a problem in a particular way. This is one reason diverse teams are a good idea when problem solving. Each person comes to the problem with a different perspective and gives the team a different way of looking at things.