“Pink Bat” Thinking

January 24, 2011

Today, top mortgage lenders have the lowest referral rating of any business sector: 89% of customers are dissatisfied. Most would see this as a “problem”… but not Quicken Loans. By changing perception and focusing on “Turning Problems Into Solutions,” they now have a 94% referral rating! That’s “Pink Bat” Thinking… making creativity and innovation work. To learn more, click here and read this Huffington Post article by Jason Schmitt.

Harmony Requires Honesty

June 3, 2010

Back in high school I played drums and sang in a few different bands. One of the bands played mostly Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Cream… you get the idea.

One day we were jamming when Jim, our lead guitarist, started playing Happy Together by the Turtles. It was funny at first… but then we all joined in and something clicked. While it was outside our genre, something about this song resonated with us. In fact, our version of Happy Together not only sounded great… it was fun to play. So now what? How do you transition from Black Dog and Iron Man to Happy Together? We weren’t certain, but we had an upcoming gig and decided to find out.

It was the night before the event and we had been practicing hard all week. Since we hadn’t performed Happy Together publicly, we decided to go over it a few more times. Jim was/is a talented musician and he had figured out all the harmonies, including a great three-part harmony for the “Ba-ba-ba…” part. (If you’ve never heard this song… you can do so below.)

Oh yes, there’s something I neglected to mention… it was for good reason that our bass guitar player rarely sang. He was notoriously off-key and pitchy (I’m being polite). Perhaps that’s what amazed Jim and me the most about us playing Happy Together… he actually sang one of the harmony parts.

Back to practice… I was singing lead and Jim was singing background harmony when we reached this part of the song…

Me and you and you and me
No matter how they toss the dice, it has to be
The only one for me is you, and you for me
So happy together

Then we all jumped in… Ba-ba-ba…

Before we could hit the second, Ba-ba-ba… line, Jim stopped playing, turned and looked directly at me. Accept for the ring in our ears, the room was silent. Read more

Finding Solutions

January 19, 2010

Turning problems into solutions requires that we adjust our perception, suspend our judgments, and remain open-minded to all possibilities. In other words, it means seeing reality for what it “really” is and for what it “really” isn’t.

Since our brain filters through volumes of random data each moment, selecting and rejecting evidence to support our beliefs, we need to consciously define and focus our attention on what it is we are seeking.

Look at the following words and quickly say the actual color aloud (not the word).

If you’re like most people, even this simple challenge requires effort to reprogram your brain. With practice, this task becomes easier once you focus more on the color and less on the actual word.

What we believe and focus on… becomes our reality. If you go out looking for trouble, you’ll find it. If you focus on happiness, it will appear. Once you decide what you’re looking for, your brain will go to work to find it and make it your reality. Whether you’re focused on problems or solutions, it doesn’t matter… your brain will subconsciously gather evidence and make it your reality.

Remember, evidence that could disprove our beliefs is marginalized or blocked by our brain filters, while weaker or even false evidence is distorted or enhanced to support them.

Since labeling something helps make it so, why not start by labeling a “problem” as a “solution”? While this may seem counterintuitive at first, successful people have been seeing problems as solutions since the beginning of time. Read more

Seeing Beyond Labels

January 18, 2010

Our five senses collect far more input than we can ever process. To prevent sensory overload, our brain filters and edits the outside world. Through this selection process, our perception of reality is established and maintained. In other words, our reality is a filtered version of REALITY itself.

Subconsciously, our brain selects what we believe is possible, plausible and “real,” while ignoring or blocking everything else. Have you ever been in a noisy room with many conversations going on at once when out of nowhere you hear your name mentioned?

That’s your filter at work. Since you consider your name to be important, your brain filters out the less important information and focuses on your name. It’s this selection and rejection process that establishes your sense of reality. It also establishes what you consider a “problem” and what you consider a “solution.”

Modifying our brain filter isn’t easy. It’s even harder when those around us share similar beliefs and expectations. It’s hard to see a new solution when it has been labeled and accepted as a problem… but it is possible. Read more