What is Explosive Thinking?
Explosive is not the same as overthinking.
Overthinking is doubling down on your worries and making things worse for yourself for no good reason.
"Overthinking: the art of creating problems that don't exist"
It is fear pushing us down a rabbit hole in our own minds.
Explosive thinking is exploring many different directions to reveal the abundant opportunities we miss.
It is the opposite of the closed in rabbit hole nature of overthinking, it is expansive multi-directional thinking.
The explosive thinker can perceive and accept reality as it is and the path she is on. She also understands the many other opportunities of potential paths in front of her that aren't immediately obvious.
"Explosive thinking: the art of solving problems in ways that don't exist"
Culturing Explosive Thinking
Regularly people try to solve problems by just working harder on the same strategy. Instead what they should do is look at different strategies. This is hard to recognise in the moment but exactly where Explosive thinking shines.
You need to reinforce it as a habit by using it, to become aware that you can use it.
When issues spring up your mind senses a problem. Let it take the next train to ideation town.
Start with things that you just wouldn't think you can improve and ideate. Use some paper, a whiteboard or whatever you fancy.
Write out 20 things you think are difficult or annoying. They can be super deep or completely mundane:
- Opening mars bars are hard when your hands are cold
- Finding a perfect relationship at my age is a nightmare
- I can't keep on top of my email
- I always forget peoples birthdays
- I hate it when you order a salad and it is tiny
- Managing money takes time
- Running a podcast is a full time job
- I forget all the TV recommendations I get
- I try to do too many things a day and keep failing
The reason to do 20 is to get in the habit of feeling like you've reached the end of ideas and realising if you spend more time you will find more.
Then choose one and come up with 20 solutions and give yourself points for creativity. Importantly, you aren't allowed to try harder with the current strategy.
After that you can apply some different lenses.
- What solutions would you come up with if you had more time, money or if a network that could help?
- What solutions would you come up if you had no money, less time and no network?
- What would people you respect say? What would your friend tell you, what would your mother tell you, what would your favourite teacher tell you?
- What would be the opposite of their advice?
- What would you do if you'd get a million pounds for doing it?
- What would you do if you'd go to jail if you didn't do it?
You don't have to do this alone. You can also ask people for their input on how to solve your problem. Or to score you out of ten on how you do that thing and offer ideas to get to a ten.
So I've explained why it's great. But also it comes with some baggage if you do accidentally make it a habit. (and you can also totally slip into overthinking)
Unnecessary - Not everything needs to be solved. Often people just want to validation and relief that someone understands their problem but don't need it dealt with at all.
Decisions - Binary decisions are great. The ability to turn a simple decision into an intricate maze is not great
Distraction - Enjoying the thing you are doing is less easy when you are mindful of the 5 billion other things you could do or the ways you could make it better.
Turning off - Hard to accept some problems and sleep. If you have an inkling that something can be solved you are basically stuck until you solve it.
Employment - Jobs generally reward people able to sit and do a task rather than come up with 5 ways to not do the task and constantly question any authority (even if it is out of curiosity)
Mis-interpreted - It can come across as obsessive when someone presents a problem and you come back with 5 ideas a few days later.
It seems like you've spent the entire time freaking out about solving their problems. When actually it is just your brain relieving itself, this is just one of the 20 things that came out of it in the last few days.
You can accidentally make people think you really like them. Awkward when they like you and you don't like them. Also equally painful if you do like them and appear obsessive...
This can all then lead to actual over-thinking as you start digging your own holes 😅
Creative - Always come up with ideas and rarely suffer blocks of what to do. Most things can be solved by just taking some time out to yourself and thinking about it.
Positive - Less likely to get down or depressed when a few days of experiencing any problem pushes you to logic your way out of it.
Entrepreneurial - Unstoppable urge to make your ideas happen rather than work in a system where you are a cog in a machine making someone else's ideas a thing.
Helpful - Take people seriously when they talk about their problems and genuinely useful friend to have.
Curious - Open minded to being wrong and learning from others about anything
Growth - Keen to improve in all areas of life and understand that most things that hold you back are just your own self-limiting beliefs
Inspiring - See the best in others before they do and always ready to help them to reach their potential
Controlling Explosive Thinking
Working on this...
Update a few years later - Turns out I have an attention deficit disorder... 🤪