How to build your switch thinking muscle

We tend to only think about building our physical muscles.

But what about our cognitive muscles?

What if we think about thinking as a muscle?

A muscle (like any other muscle) you can exercise and it can get stronger.

More specifically our switch thinking muscle.

How can we build our switch thinking muscle?

In short – by exercising it – everyday!


Here are some exercises to help you:

  • When you come across an assumption in a group or team, make it explicit, then challenge it. What happens? Does it open up new possibilities?
  • Try asking an expert question in your next meeting then switch and ask a naive one.
  • Develop a usual solution, then switch to a different one and finally switch and generate a radical solution.
  • If you are faced with a new situation switch to a different perspective e.g. lead singer in a band. What happens? what new ideas emerge?
  • If you are playing golf for example, become your playing partner and imagine what shot you might play from where their ball has landed.
  • Try drawing your next solution rather than using words.
  • If you are in a strategy session then switch to a competitor perspective. What would they do next? Why?
  • Rather than highlighting what is wrong with a new idea, switch and search for what is fresh, original or surprising about the idea.
  • What’s your usual starting point when solving a problem? It could be the numbers or the profit or the costs. Now switch and start at a different place – it could be how people are feeling for example. Or what is your purpose or values? By changing your starting point do your ideas change? How?
  • Forget the what and the how, switch to the why.

As you can see there are numerous ways to exercise and build your switch thinking muscle.

By doing so you and your group or team can become more creative, agile and you will never get stuck again.


Check out the 6 Switches Canvas. It’s simple, practical and free.