Tuesday, 19 March 2013

On the path of winners By Bayo Ogunmupe Fostering the skill of imagery


On the path of winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe
Fostering the skill of imagery

    As the saying goes: you can only be as great as you imagine. Which is why you have to cultivate the habit of visualizing your life goals. The world renowned theologian and teacher, William Bernbach said, "For the flower to blossom, you need the right soil as well as the right seed. The same is true to cultivate good thinking."
    Good thinkers are always in high demand. And good thinking starts from imaging your possibilities. That is why the person who knows how will always land a job but the person who knows why will always be his boss. Visionary leaders solve problems, they never lack ideas with which to build organizations. They always have the vision for a better future. Those who foster the skills of imagery know how to control themselves even while under oppressors.

Fostering the habits of imaginative thinking isn't complicated. It is only a discipline to be cultivated. To do this you need a place to think your thoughts. Charles Kettering a noted inventor and holder of more than 140 patents, once likened creating a place for thinking to hanging a bird cage in your mind. This was made clearer by a thousand dollar bet he once had with his friend. Kettering told a friend that he could make the man buy a pet bird in the coming year. His friend vowed that Kettering could never make him buy a pet bird, so he took the bet.

Soon after, Kettering gave his friend an expensive Swiss birdcage. The man took the beautiful cage home and hung it in his parlour. But interestingly, every time he had guests, someone would ask him, "When did your bird die?" "I never had a bird, he will tell them. Then he would have to explain the whole betting. After doing this repeatedly, he finally went out to buy a parakeet, and finally paying a thousand dollar Kettering bet. Kettering later said, "If you hang birdcages in your mind, you eventually fill them with birds."

As Kettering birdcages attract birds, so too will a designated place to think attract good thoughts. If you go to your sanctum expecting to generate good thoughts, certainly you will meet your expectation by coming up with valuable ideas. For me, the best places to think are in the bathroom, the car or the plane. For some, places to think are in the spa, the park or the shower. When you found a place to think, thoughts find a place in you.

Two, rarely do ideas come fully formed, it is your sanctum that shapes your thoughts. Thoughts have to stand the test of clarity before they can stand. A good way to fine tune your thoughts is to put them in writing. Professor and University vice chancellor, Senator Hayakawa wrote: "Learning to write is learning to think. You don't know anything clearly unless you can state it in writing."

Three, find a place to stretch your thoughts. In order to enliven your imagination and create skills of visualization, you have to spend time mentally shaping your thoughts in solitude. Thereafter test your ideas by asking your mastermind group to fine tune it. A great idea evolves from solitude shaped by the right people in the appropriate environment, bringing out the desired result.

Four, find a place to anchor your thoughts. Thoughts have wings, they needed to be landed and anchored for fruition. The real power of an idea comes when it grows from abstraction to application. A good example is Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. When he published his theory in 1905, explained it in 1916, they were merely profound ideas. Their real power came with the development of the nuclear reactor in 1942 and the nuclear bomb in 1945. When scientists developed and applied Einstein's ideas, they changed the course of world history. Likewise, if you want your thoughts to make impact, you need to anchor them with other people so that someday they can be implemented.

Use yourself and your mastermind group to anchor your ideas. But a good idea is like a wheelbarrow, it will go nowhere unless you push it. If you can develop the discipline of imaginative thinking, and turn it to a life habit, then you will be productive throughout your life. In order for you to become a great thinker you have to expose yourself to good thinkers. This you can do by surrounding yourself with brilliant people. Also you should keep a library of great books. Act on your thoughts. Read other books to nourish your thoughts. Make a priority of thinking as a discipline. Create a thinking schedule. Ideas have a short shelf life, you must act on them before they expire. You cannot wait until you feel like thinking before you think. One thought does not make a thinker, success comes to those who create mountains of thought that they continually mine.

Our champion for today is Oliver Eaton Williamson, the American economist who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics. Williamson was born in September 1932, specializing in transaction cost economics. He received his BS in management from Sloan School of Management, MIT, IN 1955, MBA from Stanford University in 1960 and PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in 1963.

From 1965 to 1983 he was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1983 to 1988 he was Gordon Tweedy Professor of Economics of Law and Organization at Yale University. He has held professorships in law, business administration, and economics at the University of California, Berkeley since 1988. Currently he is Edgar Kaiser Professor Emeritus at Hans School of Business.

In 2009 Williamson was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm, sharing it with Elinor Ostrom. By drawing attention at high theoretical level to differences between market and non-marketing decision making, management and service provision, Williamson has been influential in the debates of the 1980s on the boundaries between the public and private sectors.

Other economists who have tested his theories found them tenable. Williamson had developed a theory where firms served as structures for conflict resolution. He argued that companies represent alternative governance structures which differ in their approaches to resolving conflicts of interes

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