Mark Blasini


Contrary thinking exercise


In the last post, I wrote about the need to open up your thinking to different ways of viewing things. A big question, though, is: howHow do I make my thinking more fluid?

Here's an exercise that will help you develop this skill:

Take a piece of paper and create two columns. In column A, take an inventory of all the common opinions, thoughts, beliefs, interests you currently have.

Next, in column B, write down an opposite or contrasting opinion, thought, belief, or interest to the ones you listed on the first paper.

So, for example, if one opinion you have is, “Dogs are much better than cats,” then the opposite opinion would be: “Cats are much better than dogs.” If one interest you have is, “Listening to Classic Rock,” a contrasting interest might be: “Listening to Country music,” or some other genre of music you have zero interest in.

After you've written down your opposite opinion, thought, belief, or interest, take some time (an hour, a day, a week, whatever) to explore that opinion, thought, belief, or interest.

Try your best not to be critical here. Don't judge the reasoning, don't evaluate whether it's right or wrong or smart or stupid. Just explore, and write down any notes, thoughts, opinions you have from this exploration.

Doing this will help you at least understand the opposing viewpoint - allowing you to actually learn something.