How Succesful People Think

This is a handy reference guide for different ways of approaching your thoughts. John C. Maxwell goes through different types of thinking highlighting what they are and how they can help you in your life. Maxwell highlights 11 different types of thinking giving examples from successful people of how this type of thinking has benefitted them.


The 11 types are:

  • Cultivate Big Picture Thinking
  • Engage in Focused Thinking
  • Harness Creative Thinking
  • Employ Realistic Thinking
  • Utilize Strategic Thinking
  • Explore Possibility Thinking
  • Learn from Reflective Thinking
  • Question Popular Thinking
  • Benefit from Shared Thinking
  • Practice Unselfish Thinking
  • Rely on Bottom-Line Thinking

Reading through the types of thinking listed most are pretty straightforward and you can see how you may utilize the different types. There are likely a handful of these types that you are already good at and the key to growing is engaging in the ones you don’t do as well.

Morning RoutineTwo of the types of thinking I need to do a better job of utilizing is benefiting from shared thinking and questioning popular thinking. When it comes to benefiting from shared thinking I notice the times I talk through ideas and collaborate with others I tend to make better decisions. The added perspective from someone who is knowledgeable and that I trust has always benefited me. I often see the flaws in my own line of thinking and recognize obstacles and opportunities I am blind to otherwise. I recently spoke with a former client of mine to get their perspective on how I can have the biggest impact at my new job from his perspective. He is a successful leader of a technology company and clarified my thoughts with sage advice.

The second type of thinking I could do a better job of is questioning popular thinking. It is easy to get caught up in the crowd or think the same way as others do. It doesn’t require much effort and often times it happens to me subconsciously. It is only until I am prompted with a deep why is this the right way of thinking or take a step back that I can recognize I am not actively questioning the status quo. Yet when you look at many of the most successful people they did something different and questioned popular thinking. On the creative side folks like George Lucas who rather than maintaining the status quo of special effects and assuming the original Star Wars couldn’t be made he challenged that thinking and deployed creativity to create a brand new way of creating special effects.

Financial Glass - Framing

Often times we don’t recognize the limiting beliefs our typical thinking deploys and it limits our ability to make better decisions. I believe there is always an opportunity to make better and smarter decisions. Will we ever be able to make the perfect decision 100% of the time? Absolutely not. I do believe we can work towards improving our decision-making process by deploying different types of thinking.

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10 thoughts on “How Succesful People Think

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Employ Realistic Thinking is a gret tool. The book does a great job providing different thinking lenses to help you be more successful

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