First thoughts, initial ideas, can be great, or they can be dangerous. Often, we find ourselves in a situation where we're trying to make sense of something and figure out what to do next. The first thing that occurs to us can sometimes be right, as a deliverance of intuition or instinct, or as a gift of the unconscious mind. But there are other times when our first thoughts are due to fear, or habit, or some other extraneous factor that actually gets in the way of discovering the truth.
I was speaking yesterday at the downtown Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis, a great urban hotel. And right before I was to give my presentation inside the Regency Ballroom, I was wandering the nearby hallway and came across a sign. I took out my iPhone and snapped it, posting the photo to start this blog, above. Theory A.
And then I walked a few feet and saw the following, of course.
Every philosopher likes to initially have more than one theory available, when attempting to understand something new. The same thing holds true in business, and even in our personal lives. Theory A. Theory B. Sometimes, even more of a selection of possibilities helps. What's important is not to rush to judgment. Don't let your first thought necessarily dictate all subsequent rumination. Reconsider. Open up to the possibility of something new. We can always be learning. It may be that your second, or third idea is the best, and the one you need to run with. Test whatever comes to mind. Then act.
And even when you find that your first theory was right, your exploration of other possibilities will help you understand how others might think about the situation, and might even give you clues into how to implement your favored approach. What's important is to broaden your thinking and keep open to something new.
Try this if you can, in any new situation you might face. Whenever Theory A occurs to you, conjure a Theory B, to help you think better about it all. Then choose which is best.
Keep your mind open and flexible, always able to contemplate the new.