Thinking is an art.
Winston Churchill once said “Most people think once a year, I practiced to think twice a week and that is why I am here”. So, what is so different and difficult in thinking?
Thinking is simple, but yet very complicated. If we just read what Churchill said, we can understand that there is something more to thinking what we do each day. All of us think, each day, each minute and each second. We are thinking of various things and we are thinking on how to solve problems.
We stop at thinking when we find an appropriate solutions, not necessarily the right solution. Many a times we restrict our thinking because we are given a checklist to think.
If you look at a developer, he starts coding when he receives Low Level Design and Algorithm. He will understand the problem, LLD and the Algorithm, but he might not necessarily know how to solve the problem. He has the blue print of the solution and his thinking is mostly towards writing code, based on the design and algorithm. What is wrong with this?
Limited thinking. That is the key here. Fortunately or unfortunately many of us are in this mode. We receive instructions and immediately our thinking stops. We follow the instructions. It is good and many a times it is encouraged to follow the laid out plan, but it is also very important to practice thinking and solving the problem.
In aviation, the Pilot has a series of checklists for any kind, for flying the airplane. There is a checklist for starting the engine, taxing to the runway, takeoff, crusing, decending, landing and parking the aircraft. Is the pilot not thinking then? He thinks. They are trained to think in simulations. Even though they follow the checklists, it is left to the pilots discretion as to how to handle the situation. This is checklist thinking.
I am sure many of you are aware of US Airways 1549 when Captain Sully landed the plan on the Hudson river. Take few moments to see the below videos.
What do you think? Was the pilot not thinking? He followed all the checklists and then made his judgement calls. That’s how he saved all the souls on board.
Checklist allows you not to forget simple things, and allows you think bigger.
Even though we have set guidelines to perform any tasks, what we need to practice is how to effectively solve the problem/address the situation following the checklist.