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While I am a big fan of positive thinking, I’m also no sucker. Positivity is great, but without actionable steps towards an end goal, positivity alone is about as useful as my North Face jacket at Daytona Beach in July. It is cumbersome at best.
Still, there has to be a middle ground. As every entrepreneur knows, mental fortitude and a good (if even slightly underdeveloped) plan are probably the two most valuable assets you can have when starting a new endeavor.
So how do we leverage our thinking to enhance our plans?
According to Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his 1960 classic Psycho-Cybernetics, it is possible to be “certain” that something will happen before it actually occurs and then use that feeling of certainty to work backwards and achieve the desired result.
"5 Practical Things Every Entrepreneur Must Know"
This isn’t some hocus-pocus, new age gibberish. As much as I enjoyed some parts of The Secret, this has nothing to do with that either.
The process is called teleological thinking.
Teleological thinking is a model of thought oriented around end results and goals. It works backwards from end goals with the presupposition that they have already happened. Traditional linear thinking demands working from the beginning and shaping your approach sequentially, based on problems you encounter. Oftentimes, this way of thinking leads the person to a different end goal than they originally intended (ie: “just going with the flow”). Teleological thinking necessitates that the end goal remains constant and subsequent challenges be dealt with flexibly in order to achieve the presupposed end result. When dealing with a difficult startup process in your business, this model of thought can be extremely useful in helping you push past barriers that would normally make you want to give up. Failure becomes impossible when the end goal is presupposed and you are simply working backwards to find the path.
There are 5 elements to teleological thinking:
Beginning with the end in mind and working backwards to find the correct route is the best way to know for sure that you’ll succeed in any endeavor you undertake. Try the teleological model of thinking on your business and watch yourself speed past the roadblocks that would have previously held you back.