Are you one to make a snap judgment?  Do you jump to conclusions quickly? How mentally flexible are you? 

I thought I was pretty flexible mentally until I listened to Elie’s speech at Toastmasters. Afterward, I realized that I had a thing or two to learn.

First of all, being mentally flexible is being open to there being other viewpoints than your own. It’s useful in many areas, leading people, being empathetic, seeing another’s opinion.

One exercise he got us to do was given the following statement to come up with a Positive, Interesting and Negative viewpoint to it. This was called the PIN exercise. 

“All citizens of a country should have their fingerprints taken and documented by the government”.

My first thought on the topic was negative; “Be aware, big brother is watching”. Having to go through the exercise made me think of the positive as well. For example, it would be so efficient to identify people and it could be used in many areas like healthcare, schooling, security, etc. We were also to come up with an interesting aspect, so for example, we are perfectly capable of this technology yet it’s not widely adopted.

This was a simple 2-minute exercise. Having to consider other viewpoints really made me think and be more open to other people’s opinions and views. 

Try it yourself, pause and think about the PIN aspects of any idea. So how mentally flexible are you? 

Further reading

Malcolm Gladwell‘s BLINK. It’s a renowned bestseller and discusses the upsides and downsides of snap judgments.