Great Minds Think Alike

Great Minds Think Alike

Everybody’s heard this phrase right? I know I hear it on almost a daily basis. Every time I hear this statement I can’t help but thing how great minds absolutely do not think alike. Everybody is different, including in their thoughts.

There are so many subtleties in the way we think and exactly what our beliefs are, even if on the surface it seems that we’re thinking alike. Some of the greatest minds ever to exist on this planet have definitely not thought alike, which is exactly why they were as successful as they were.

Don’t Think Alike, Think Different

Thinking alike doesn’t seem like a very positive thing to me, though it’s expressed in a positive way. I think the most important and positive things we can do is figure out what those difference are (and they are anything but easy to find) and communicate them better so we understand better.

Even in agreement when thinking seems to be alike, it’s undoubtedly different. In that case, more questions need to be asked and more prying needs to be done in the case that it seems great minds are thinking alike.

Maybe the term coined by the Apple marketing machine, think different, isn’t the best way to put it either though. The thinking may end up being different, but thinking different just for the sake of doing so isn’t necessarily the best thing either.

Think For Yourself

I tend to think that beyond great minds thinking alike and think different might be think for yourself.

This means that whether you’re thinking different, agreeing, disagreeing, etc, it’s always necessary to think for yourself and never accept the agreement that is inevitably on the surface only.

Pry your way into the real thoughts and find out what it means to the other person. Seeking a way to empathize with them I guess is the real goal.

It’s being dismissive to say great minds think alike and then excuse that thought for being just like yours.

The thought you’re thinking is the same as yours is undoubtedly not just like yours. In fact it could be so different that you might learn something very new and change your way of thinking if more information is gathered.

Dig Deeper

When your first reaction to a statement or a way of thinking is that great minds think alike, stop yourself. Pause for one second and think of a question you might ask the other person. Figure out why you think that your lines of thinking are converging and maybe there is a lesson there.

It could be that the thinking is the same, or very similar, but I’m willing to bet in more cases than not that there is a vast difference between the thinking.

What do you think?

Posted in and tagged ,

4 Comments

  1. BrunoWinck on December 21, 2015 at 10:43 am

    I think like you Nick!

    Oops, sorry 🙂 Anyway we are not great minds so it doesn’t applies to us.

    I’m surprised how this form of group thinking could take ground from such common wisdom and eventually lead to boring repetitive mentions of same ideas and sharing always the same posts.We know brands encouraged this behavior by building fans networks but it should be different in positions where thinking is required.

    The sad counterpart is that once you start to raise a doubt on conclusions being shared, start being critic some people react with a very think skin. I’m sorry to say that I found this pattern more often in the L&D community than in Marketing or Software. I felt the need to write a post to clarify my position back in March http://winck.org/blog/2015/03/a-case-for-fertile-discussions/

    So do people put a lid on their opinions and reassure themselves with such ready-made phrases? Maybe they think because it mentions “great minds” it provides a good cover. It fits also with the politically correct style, don’t make waves and everything will be perfect.

    • Nick Leffler on December 21, 2015 at 11:23 am

      I don’t know about you, but it applies to me 😉 Honestly the whole statement, including that some people have “great minds” is a sham. Even the great minds aren’t great minds, they just did something a bit different and took others feedback/mockery as it is, just someone’s opinion but not the end all.

      It doesn’t have to be that we become critics, just that we ask clarifying questions more and maybe have a bit more discussion about it rather than just say yay we agree, we’re both great! There definitely is a good cover in the statement, who can argue with that? It’s flattering for most, but I think it probably should be more insulting lol.

      Thin skin can play a part in it though, I guess that means we still have to go about stuff somewhat diplomatically and can’t just speak whatever we think. Some things that are thought by others are best kept to themselves, for the good of society. If you don’t think so, just take a look at the sad state of politics in the United States lol.

      Well, waves should be made though, but not at the expense of others. People that were considered great minds never made waves at the expense of others, at least I can’t think of any.

      • BrunoWinck on December 21, 2015 at 11:45 am

        I’m glad that #PKMChat is a place we have where frank talk is possible and welcome. “think skin” tweeps understood it’s not the right place for them to get an audience of flatters. I’m looking forward for more great discussions in 2016, trying to get one level deeper, and stay free thinkers.

        Maybe like in politics the clue is to lead by example: make a difference, stay positive, innovate, start small and locally instead of spending time in lost battles at a level nobody cares what we think.

        NB: State of politics is everywhere the same with some local adaptations. I decided to switch of the radio and stay away from news. A hard decision as I made myself a duty to be an aware citizen since I’m a young adult. Nowadays there is nothing left to stay aware, no point.

        • Nick Leffler on December 21, 2015 at 12:52 pm

          I do enjoy #PKMChat 🙂 as for politics, I’ve chosen to mostly switch them off, but I’ve had a far more difficult time switching off news completely but I do agree with you, there is nothing that’s of good. News doesn’t reflect the reality of the world, which is a great place as a whole.

          I guess I’ll just try to lead by example and do my best 🙂

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.