I recently encountered this fascinating article from the Telegraph here in the UK. It details the negative physiological effects that occur in the body when we think too hard! However, it doesn’t go very much into depth about how to deal with thinking fatigue.
According to the article, if the brain is forced to work beyond its limits, toxins are released that cause it to poison itself.
Apparently, when these harmful chemicals introduce themselves, they act as a direct cause of fatigue, meaning that you can no longer perform the tasks you need to. In other words, it brings on a spiral of destruction and you can no longer be productive.
The article then continues with the assertion that sleep and rest are the only ways to address this issue. Of course we won’t argue with that as it is obviously true, however there are some interesting things at play here and there actually is another way to address this challenge.
Thanks to a very long background of action research spanning almost five decades here at Effective Intelligence, we have a lot of experience with the practical realities of thinking. This of course includes fatigue.
Through his ground-breaking research and innovation, our founder Jerry Rhodes identified the Thinking-Intentions, or Thunks for short. These provide tangible identities and names for the invisible forces that drive each person’s thinking.
The fascinating thing here is that each individual has their own set of preferences in terms of these Thinking-Intentions. This means that they have a natural inclination to enjoy certain types of thinking and to dislike others.
The model works at a much greater level of detail than this, but as a simple example, we could say that one person could enjoy dreaming up new ideas, another could enjoy categorising and organising information, and another could enjoy decision-making and taking action.
Likewise, the person who loves dreaming up new ideas might well really dislike the tedious reality of ordering existing information. On the flip side, the person who enjoys having things organised probably thinks that the one with the new ideas is just a tedious dreamer with their head in the clouds, completely divorced from reality.
These dichotomies can seem quite entertaining to us when we encounter them, because they are usually accompanied by an amusing sort of outrage expressed by somebody towards a particular preference that they do not care for!
What Causes Fatigue?
Another way of considering your Thinking-Intentions is to think of them like muscles. If you go to the gym or engage in any type of sport, then you will be familiar with the concept of how some muscles can become strong while others stay weak.
In gym and bodybuilding circles, there is a famous and widely known joke about certain athletes ‘skipping leg day’. This is really just a funny way of describing the phenomenon of bodybuilders who have put a lot of effort into their upper body exercises, but they still have skinny legs because they have neglected that area.
In other words, these people have a natural preference for upper body exercises, and they indulge in that preference at the expense of other areas.
To further the analogy, if one of these people lifts a heavy weight with their arms, they will most likely find it quite easy, because the muscles involved are already very strong and developed. They have had lots of use – these muscles even have memory. They can do this all day and won’t get tired.
On the other hand, if the same person tries a leg exercise with heavy weights, they might struggle to complete the exercise. The muscles are weak and undeveloped, because they have not had sufficient use and practice. This results in a failed exercise and fatigue sets in.
That’s all for the gym now. Back to thinking! In the arena of the mind, this phenomenon is exactly the same.
Fatigue and Your Thinking-Intentions
If you engage your brain in the areas of thinking that it naturally prefers, it is using a well-toned set of mental muscles. Strength and stamina come naturally, and getting tired seems like something that won’t happen any time soon.
In complete contrast, if you force yourself to engage in areas of thinking that you don’t have a natural preference for, the thinking muscles are weak and you will find the task difficult. Fatigue quickly looms on the horizon.
This is the Effective Intelligence secret to dealing with thinking fatigue. You need to align yourself with tasks that require the type of thinking that you naturally prefer. All of a sudden, you’ll find that you can think for much longer without getting tired!
But what do you do if you are faced with a task that requires thinking that you don’t much care for? Well, if you know the thinking preferences of all your team members, you can probably find a good match for that task and delegate it to that person. Simple!
Of course, you may not be in the luxurious position of having a colleague who is well suited to the task. In fact, you might not even have a team at all. Don’t fear, there is still hope. Just like with an undeveloped muscle, there are exercises that you can do to develop your least preferred types of thinking. Let Effective Intelligence be your trainer! We can make available to you some specific thinking tools that will extend your reach and capability in any less preferred area of your thinking skill.
Your Thinking-Intentions Profile
Every person on Earth has a Thinking-Intentions Profile, waiting to be uncovered. This is essentially the entire set of preferences that a person has, in terms of how they like to think. Their thinking preferences go on to determine the actions they take, and their actions determine the results they get.
Your Thinking-Intentions Profile directly impacts the results you achieve in work and in life, so it is in fact an extremely important insight to have on yourself.
If you are reading this article, we are glad to have you here and we are very excited to be able to offer you some very specific insights into how you think, completely free of charge.
Click here to participate in our questionnaire. Once you have completed it, you will receive Your Key Strategic Insights at no cost. Time to uncover the inner workings of your mind, so you can avoid fatigue and climb to new heights!