Three Qualities of an Original Thinker
TutorFuse is recognizing the qualities of an original thinker and helping our children and students become one.
Inspired by a TEDtalk by Adam Grant
1. Originals Thinkers are Quick to Start, Slow to Finish
We all are fully aware that procrastination does not work. However, did you ever think that starting something early and finishing in the same day may not be the best strategy either? Original thinkers start on something, then let days, weeks, months pass, continuing to add on bit by bit. The reason this works is it gives time to filter new ideas. The original thinker can come back and think outside the box, revising to make it better each time.
Example: Martin Luther King Jr. worked on his famous “I have a dream speech” for weeks. It was his first time on the national stage and his speech needed to make an impact. He worked on his speech long into the night and in an impromptu decision, decided to add that famous line, “I have a dream today.” If he had felt “finished” with his speech, the impact may have been received quite differently.
2. Original Thinkers Produce a Lot of Bad Ideas
Great thinkers often fail the most because they also try the most. If you look at the simple math behind it, it becomes clear why this model works. The more output, products, and ideas that are put out there, the chances are heightened that one of those will be an original thought.
Example: You may know Thomas Edison best for his invention of the lightbulb. However, in 1890, Thomas Edison created an incredibly creepy Phonograph Doll. This doll was widely unpopular and the sales for this doll were considered a failure. Thomas Edison did not stop creating. Over his lifetime, he had filed 1,093 patents for inventions – some successes, many failures.
3. Original Thinkers are Scared to Fail, but Find It Even Scarier to Not Try at All
Most people are afraid of failing. In fact, 85% of people do not speak up about their ideas out of fear of being judged. Yet, when people look back at their lives, more often they regret the risks not taken. Original thinkers believe that it is too important not to try at all. It is important to begin to have a mindset shift from, “this is terrible,” to, “I am just not there yet.” We want to start doubting the status quo and begin to always look for a better option.
Example: The movie Frozen is unlike most Disney fairytales. The creators flipped the original princess model on its head when they emphasized the importance of family above any potential romance. A risky move, with sensational reviews.
At TutorFuse we want to help students become original thinkers. With the support and collaboration of a tutor, students can stay on track to build upon a project, essay, or idea over time. Students can begin to feel like failing is alright, if working hard and trying remains the priority. Being original is not easy, but it is the best way to improve the world around us!