Effective Thinking Fomula

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Effective Thinking for Massive Results

Thinking Series: Effective Thinking Formula

business culture creation leadership mindset self mastery Apr 13, 2022

Have you ever had so much going on in your head that you can’t seem to slow it down?  Or maybe you have thoughts that are not serving the direction you want to go?  

We have very specific business plans and corporate structures, we have formulas for education and training plans for athletes and yet we were never really taught how to think.  More specifically, Think Effectively.

What is thinking effectively anyway?  We often get lost in thought while working, on the drive home, doing dishes or even in conversations with others.  Yet, I wouldn’t consider it effective.  Our brains are quite diverse.  Creating our future one moment and having a dramatic meltdown the next.  

This extreme back and forth thinking is a little like a toddler.  A small crazy human running through the house with paint on their hands;  it seems fun and nerve wracking all at once.  Effective thinking is more like having the toddler guided toward producing a masterpiece with that paint.

When we learn how to think effectively, we produce effective results.  Most of us want the outcomes in our businesses, families and health to move us toward the vision we have for our lives.  And yet we find ourselves floundering.  When we flounder we have forgotten to guide the toddler running through the house (aka your brain) and it starts to become a mess!

When we can manage our thoughts we can produce effective thinking which then causes:

  1. Greater Consciousness
  2. More Answers 
  3. Better Results

The easiest way to start guiding your brain to produce what you want is via questions.  However, when our thinking is on a rampage the questions can be problematic and actually lead to overthinking.  

Questions like: 

Why isn’t this working?  

What did they mean by that?

Where did this go wrong?

They seem innocent and likely to solve a problem but it can create a series of answers that actually slow the effective thinking process down.   Our brains naturally want to answer the question and when the question is only looking for the problem we miss the solution.

Questions are the best way to guide the brain as long as we ask the questions that guide to the outcome we are looking for.  Poor Questions:  Poor results.

The brain pops out thoughts (and answers to these questions) like a heart beats.  One after another.  The air popper that makes popcorn doesn’t stand a chance compared to what our brains can do.  The thoughts can seem to come from nowhere and much of what is occurring is subconscious.

The Effective Thinking Formula not only helps us become more conscious, it also gets us out of our heads to connect with others and the bigger picture.  Our brain and our heart together become the best guide.

Effective Thinking = (Thoughts + Intention) x Awareness 

Thoughts--> from an effective Question

Intention--> toward the desired result

Awareness--> of self, others and time context (past, present, future)


For Example take the goal of becoming fit in the new year.  

Perhaps the question is simply “How can I get fit this year?”

Ineffective Thinking around getting fit for the New Year: 

I didn’t do it last year so I have to do it this year

The thought has an intention that it must be done and the awareness focuses on the time context without awareness of self and others.  It leaves the thinker with a feeling of guilt and that it must be done.


I am working out today to fuel my energy for my mission, family and future.

This thought has intention (workout, today, energy) and awareness of self, others and time (mission, family, future).

Notice the shift.  This subtle change in thinking will change the emotional state.  Actions coming from motivation or optimism are very different from actions coming from guilt or shame.

Our thoughts determine which feelings will be present.  Cleaning up the messy thoughts creates a new emotional state and actions which lead to the results that we really want.

We naturally default to the patterns of thinking we learned growing up or patterns that we have adopted from a time that worked for us in the past but may not work now.  Changing how we think can literally change the quality of our lives.

Take the workplace example of a project deadline in which the projected milestones have not been met…

The project manager wonders “why are the developers behind?”  This question can spawn any number of answers… These are just a few that I’ve heard from my clients…


  • They aren’t productive enough
  • We had planned plenty of time
  • We need to address this in the next meeting
  • They don’t realize the importance of this deadline


Let’s look at our formula again…

Effective Thinking = (Thoughts + Intention) x Awareness 

Thoughts--> from an effective Question

Intention--> toward the desired result

Awareness--> of self, others and time context (past, present, future)

The thoughts of the project manager are thoughts that come from an ineffective question.  Furthermore, the thoughts are not revolving around the desired result of making the project deadline, but rather the intention of the developers being wrong, behind, unproductive or ineffective.  The awareness is very low on the self as a leader and is very focused on the others in a negative frame within a reactive context. 

To apply the Effective Thinking formula with the same project we start with a higher quality question such as…

What needs to happen to still make the deadline?

How can we all shift to make this work?

Who needs more support at this juncture?

What adjustments will be most effective?

These are just a few effective questions to prompt thoughts that will have far greater impact in solution creation and actually reaching the desired result.  These questions are effective at encompassing the thought and the intention.  Effectively bringing the brain and the heart to work together.  These questions prompt thoughts like…

We have solutions in this area with these people.

We can adjust in the following ways with these people’s talents.

These people can get support in this way.

By adjusting these 2 areas we can recover and move forward.

Not only do thoughts like these find solutions, they are thoughts of a leader.  A leader will spend more time on finding solutions than ruminating over the problems.  THAT is why practicing Effective Thinking is a leadership practice.

In what areas can you ask better questions?

Where does the intention need clarity by spotlighting the exact result that is desired?

What will stepping back to see the bigger picture of yourself, others and time do for your situation?

Now go ask phenomenal questions, bring intention to your thoughts and see the bigger picture and you are Effective Thinking.  You will be amazed at the results that you bring!


Check out our "Stop Overthinking" Blog to optimize your thinking and 

Listen in to the Empowered Team Podcast for more on the Effective Thinking Formula

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