Global Thinking

Article by Shawn Dwyer and Dr.L.Michael Hall ~

Warning: Global Thinking. A larger crisis on Planet Earth than global warming is global thinking. When a person generalizes (or over-generalize) that person engages in a kind of thinking that often prevents one from actually “thinking.” That’s because when you “think” globally you are actually describing a category or classification, and not actually thinking about anything in particular.

Global Thinking is Hypnotic?

Isn’t That Amazing? This should also be revealing and frightening. Revealing because putting something into a category, “I want to be successful in my life.” “This program will make you effective and productive.” “That’s a bad choice.” you can say all kinds of things and yet, in the end, not say anything. [This is actually the key to hypnotic language patterns, the art of speaking in an artfully vague way.]

This Is How Politicians Typically Speak.

So they say they are for the common good, prosperity for all, better social programs for the poor, equality under the law, and on and on. Of course, we all agree with that and want the same. But what does any of that mean in terms of policy decisions? The politician isn’t saying. Now while that prevents him from offending anyone and from being criticized by anyone (a good strategy for getting votes), it also saves him from taking a policy decision so that he can be held accountable (a poor strategy for building trust over the long-term). 

Cognitive Bias in Global Thinking

Frightening because global thinking can not only deceive others, it can even deceive you. This is a warning that should come with generalized words and statements- they can lead to self-deception just as easy as they can deceive others. What is the self-deception? Mostly the cognitive bias wherein you think you think you understand something. Let’s say you adopt a new belief, “I can be successful in my career.” That’s a good capacity belief. But what does it refer to? What are you actually believing you can succeed in doing? The statement doesn’t include any particulars only a global statement about “success.” A category. Therefore this is the occupational hazard which is built into the global perspective. It seems like you know and understand what you are saying, but you do not. You do not have an internal indicator about what it is that would be required to be successful.

Global Thinking Lies Inside of So Many of Our Everyday Problems.

Consider perfectionism as an example. Someone says that they are procrastinating on an activity because they want to do it right. Okay. And what does “right” mean? Whatever the behavior is- making a sales call, exercising at the gym, writing a report, eating more healthily, etc., what are the details in doing something “right?” While the statement sounds meaningful, its vagueness makes it impossible to pin down and so while one may think that he has made a meaningful statement, he has not. So we meta-model the statement and see if we can get some details:

           How right does the behavior need to be?  Are we talking 50%, 75%, 95%, 99.9%?

           In terms of being right, what criteria are you using to determine right?

           “Doing it right” sounds like a visionary goal, are you expecting to do it on your first attempt? How long do you think it will take you before you get it just right?


Recently, I was working with a trainer the other day whose goal was to change his perfectionism frame from getting it right, perfect, or flawless. I inquired about his decision and he had come to realize that “perfectionism” was a false hope, an unrealistic goal, and an impossible objective. “Great!” I said, congratulating him on his insight and decision. “So what do you want to set as your new frame of mind?” We had been talking about principles that one could mind-to-muscle to get it into neurology. So he said, “I just want to do my best and not have to do it perfectly.”

Then, having been through this one numerous times before, I immediately stopped, accessed a great big smile and with a twinkle in my eye said, “I think you have just snuck perfectionism in through the back door. You’re pretty sneaky that way, aren’t you?” “What? I don’t know what are you talking about. Sneaking it in?”

Doing Your Best

“Ah, now you’re going to play dumb. Okay, I’ll play along! ‘Doing your best…” Hmmmm. Best! Ah, yes, doing your BEST. and what do you think your best is but another description of doing it perfectly?” “That’s perfectionism?!” he asked. “It sounds like it to me. What do you think? If you weren’t aiming to do it perfectly, but you were doing to do your best, what’s the difference?” He paused. In a bit, he started to say something, stopped himself and then thought about it for a few more seconds. “You know, you’re right. It is bringing perfectionism in through the back door.”

Mastery Is In The Details

Therefore, Global thinking is dangerous if you do not follow it up with details. Mastery is in the details. Hence, that’s where every expert lives- in the details which manifest the meta-level principle [hence, the meaning of meta-detailing]. So with global thinking you have only started the process of thinking, you have named a category – but you have not actually engaged in a specific representation. Not yet. Are you ready to do that?

  • Imagine The Life You Deserve And Loving Every Minute Of It

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Leave a Comment