How to Become a Thought Leader

September 4, 2017


Original Thought vs. Unique Thought


Part of the trouble most of us have with understanding thought-production or original thought is the seeming confusion regarding the distinction between Original Thought and Unique Thought.

Original thoughts are those that you have produced given a sanctuary within your mind.  You have purposefully created a place within your mind that is mostly free of external influence in order to create original thoughts.


Unique (or novel) thoughts are those that only you have produced.  These are more difficult to create, although far from impossible.  You have to create and sustain a thought-sanctuary in order to construct increasingly larger constructs. Often, this takes years.


Now, if you aspire to create unique thoughts you must become the origin of your thoughts.  Simply creating original thoughts does not make them unique.  I've created many original thoughts that I was unaware of someone else thinking until I did a little research only to find out that these thoughts had been created already.


Being a thought leader is not for everyone!


This is a lonely path not taken by everyone.  You have to be willing to blaze a path into uncharted territory for extended periods of time.  Only you will be able to construct the scaffolding-thoughts in order to create something larger.  Only once you have scaffolded enough to adequately convey to others the essence or intent will they be able to join in your thoughts.


Who are thought consumers?


A thought consumer (mostly) consumes other's thoughts rather than manifesting thoughts of their own.  This is what the education system prepares everyone to be. If you step back and look at what the education system does on a daily basis:

  • Teachers no longer use the Socratic method (asking questions to lead someone to the answer rather than telling someone the answer).  They feed minds pre-chewed thoughts only and attempt to leave the creative-mind as dormant as possible.

  • Teachers tell their students what to think rather than ask you what you think.

  • Teachers have their students sit and consume other's thoughts for 6 hours.  Little time is given to creative expression.

  • Subjects that can nurture creativity such as music and art are being defunded, clearly communicating what they measure and value.

Before I get into thought production, I want to acknowledge thought consumers. Many people will dismiss the existence of thought producers because they see them as oppositional/antagonistic to thought-consumption. This does not mean original thought doesn't exist.  It simply means that there are people who are predisposed to thought origin and those that are not.  And there are an unlikely few who are not predisposed, but undertake learning the skills despite.


Who are thought producers?


I hear people talk about how "there are no original thoughts". I entirely agree with this perspective, but I disagree with the statement. They are simply speaking their own reality and it is true. Their words mean "I am not an origin of thought."  Being a thought producer takes a great deal of effort and intention, often years of training and work.  It's no wonder that most people don't realize such a thing exists.

The ability to produce original thought is entirely possible. It just takes doing something exceptional. As the word describes, doing something exceptional means it's a path not often taken.


Steps to becoming a thought producer


What does it take to be an origin of thought? Seven things give you the proper environment for thought creation.


1. Accept diverging from the norm


One of the most challenging aspects for most people is the willingness to diverge from the norm.  You have to be willing to stray away from "common knowledge" and unrelentingly blaze a path often in what seems to be the opposite direction of where everyone else is headed.

This may sound appealing at first blanche until you find yourself off in uncharted territory for a few years with nothing but your thoughts.

Being a thought leader is not for the faint of heart.


2. Create mental space for original thought


In order to create thoughts you must create a mental work space for your mind to organize and construct. Like a artist preparing to create their next great painting, they clean and organize their work space in order to prepare for their creation.

Rather than clearing a physical work space, your mind is the workshop that you must clear of thought in order to create the necessary sanctuary for your creative mind to have the space for its creations.


3. Create emotional space for thought


Negative emotions will keep you from being able to focus your mind on creation. You must clear your mind of these negative emotions and preferably fill your mind with positive emotions.

Positive emotions will create the necessary frequency for you to be in, in order to create.  Preferably, you want your whole being to be in a positive frequency.


4. Substantially reduce your time consuming other's thoughts


Simply from a time perspective, in order to produce thoughts you cannot both be a substantial consumer and a producer, these are mutually exclusive. There simply isn't enough time in the day to do both.

Additionally, if you are consuming other's thoughts then your unique thoughts are being diluted by others'. You must insulate your mind from other's thoughts to protect your thoughts from contamination. You can then be very selective about which thoughts you bring into this pristine environment. Often, this means greatly reducing or abstaining from consuming other's thoughts for a time.


5. Create time for thought


Once you've done all of this, then you need to spend your time thinking on a subject that appeals to you.

I spend the majority of my time thinking about a subject that I have a great deal of experience in, Software Development.

I do allow myself a small portion of my time to think on subjects that I have little direct experience in that are areas of interest. This could be considered something like an entertainment budget. You know that the ROI of these thoughts are likely less than those which you have direct experience, so you budget your time for these type of thoughts accordingly.


6. Shelter your fledgling unique thoughts - Choose your audience


There are two likely outcomes to sharing your half-baked thoughts with others.


Most often they will be met with resistance.  Most polite people will tell you that these abnormal or incorrect.  They'll dismiss what you say as irrelevant or unnecessary.


Worse will be those that actively discourage you from having such derivative thoughts.  They can attempt to shame you, guilt you or use collective/authoritative bias to dissuade from thinking uniquely.

Only share your unique thoughts with select people who can hold enough space to ponder them and give them adequate consideration and are unlikely to push back or dissuade you as you build your thoughts further.


7. Explore alternate ways of thinking.


As you practice thought creation over time you may find that a methodology for creating unique thoughts begins to emerge. These patterns for are common practices for how you create original thoughts.

You can begin to document these processes so that they can be shared and reused by you and others.


Managing Your Thought Leadership

Thought Overlap


Don't be discouraged when you create an original thought if you find out that someone else has also created that same thought either in the past or in the present. This is part of the exercise of thought creation.

Consider the story of Roger Bannister breaking the 5 minute mile. For him to get to a point where he ran a mile in less than 5 minutes he did a whole lot of 5 minute miles that most were capable of doing.

Creating original thought is an exercise that takes practice. The majority of the time you will find yourself creating thoughts that are yours, yet overlap with other's thoughts despite them coming from you as well. Over time your intuition will begin to guide you down the path of creating original thought.


1. Your thoughts are abnormal – Success!


Sharing your original thoughts with others can be a precarious process. You will soon recognize that thought consumers identify unique thoughts as contaminants themselves. They will often wholeheartedly reject your thoughts because they are inconsistent with "common knowledge". Many times you will have to be steadfast in your thoughts and not be dissuaded from abandoning them because they are not normal. Remember, thoughts can't be "normal" and original!


2. Selling your thoughts


As you begin to share your original thoughts you'll start to become a salesman for them. Learning about sales techniques can be very helpful. Check out Zig Ziglar's and other's sales training if you find these helpful. You will need to acquire an entirely different set of skills in order to be able to communicate your thoughts succinctly to people for them to consume.


3. Preparing soil for new thoughts


Giving people a foundation for how the thoughts fit into their existing paradigm is great way to begin to deliver your thoughts. Books such as Crossing the Chasm are a good reference for how the process of adopting new thoughts and concepts happens in the marketplace.


4. Cutting off thought creation


Assuming you want your thoughts to be used by thought consumers, you will have to begin to make a conscious choice on how much unique thought you create. Remember, the more thoughts of origin you have, the more difficult it will be (the bigger the bite) for thought consumers to get through. You will have to determine what an appropriate cut-off point is for your unique thoughts. Drifting too far into origin may make it difficult to sell your thoughts to consumers.


Hopefully this has been a helpful guide to creating original thought.


Happy thinking!


Your grateful thinker,

Jeff Fischer

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