thank god i'm dyslexic

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  • How To See Solutions That Others Cant See!

    Chic Thompsonauthor of What a Great Idea!

    Thank God Im Dyslexice

    Copyright Chic Thompson 2015. All rights reserved.

  • From my first childhood drawings to my latest business venture, I have loved creating, finding and sharing new ideas.

    My best ideas have always come in the shower and not at a desk.

  • As a young kid, I took really long showers and would jump out verbalizing my shower ideas.One day, my dad said, Chic...

    Whoa... Im sure he was worried about the water or electric bill.

    Ideas are a

    a dozen!


  • As a student, I spent many hours stuck battling the fears of expressing my ideas in class. I barely passed high school courses (I drew cartoons and gave oral presentations for extra credit.)

    This strategy didnt work in college. I only passed chemistry, economics and math classes. I dropped out three times.

  • Its now been over fifty years since my dads warning, and my shower ideas have gone from a dime a dozen to the currency of my life.

    Ive worked in the new products lab for Gore-Tex and in marketing with Disney. I started a health education cartoon company, and I now teach creative leadership at The Brookings Institution and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

  • The most common question that I get asked by my MBA students is:

    How did you go from dropping out of college to new product developer, to drawing cartoons, to now teaching at business schools

    that would never accept you as a student?

    My answer is simple. I see in opposites I look for whats right about every failure I reverse words I then connect adjacent, unrelated possibilities.

  • This opposite strategy comes so naturally to me because I have the gift of dyslexia* and I see and take a lot of supposed missteps.

    To capitalize on this tendency to see in different directions, whenever something goes wrong or when I hear a wild idea, I instinctively ask,

    The answers that have come from asking, Whats right have changed my life and hopefully the lives of my clients.

    Whats right about it?

    *Dyslexia: a learning disability involving difficulties in acquiring and processing language and is manifested by a lack of proficiency in reading, spelling, and writing.

  • I also love to reframe my clients challenge by asking: What would you never do to achieve your desired result? and then flip the never into a big, new possibility.

    My goal has always been to look for second and third right answers that arent in the back of any teachers edition.

    What would you never do?

  • The magic of opposite thinking is that, at first glance, the opposite idea might sound absurd, contradictory, or illogical. Because opposites fly in the face of all reason, and yet they are strangely compelling.At second look, some of the ideas generated from opposite thinking can turn out to be brilliant, true, and logical. They can open up possibilities, break through mental blocks, and pull the rug out from under false assumptions.

  • To help you understand and embody opposites, I am sharing my paradoxical Top 10 Rules of Thumb.

    The steps are not a linear approach to problem solving. You can mix and match the rules and apply them whenever you need a mental jump-start. They are by definition intended to be disruptive.

  • Top 10 Opposite Thinking Rules of Thumb1. Yes, and vs. Yes, but...2. Begin with the End in Mind3. The Question is the Answer4. Look for a Second Right Answer5. Expect the Unexpected6. Fail Forward7. Break Your Patterns8. Disciplined Dreaming9. Less is More

    10. First 60 Seconds Makes a Lasting Impression

  • When a child thinks up a new idea, their initial thoughts are about the possibilities the fun they could have. But mature minds see first what is wrong with a new idea. Yes, but its too costly goes the voice in their head. Then their inner voice puts them down for thinking up the idea. Rather than saying Yes, but... , which gives an excuse for inaction, say, Yes, and... , which encourages a dialogue.


  • Begin with the End in MindI start any challenge by thinking about the future, seeing the vision and the possibilities. I ask three questions:

    1. What is the result I want to see, feel and hear. 2. Why do I want to achieve this result? 3. Then I ask, how could I achieve this result?

    Finally with a swirl of possibilities in my mind, I reflect on the past to learn about hurdles that need to be overcome.

  • The Question is the AnswerWe dont really find, create, or invent creative solutions; we actually reveal them. Here are the questions I ask to prepare my mind for revealing solutions to my challenges.

    What do I have to be more open-minded about to be successful?

    What are my blind spots? What is unique about this challenge that I have

    never seen before? What if I trusted my customer/client 100%, would

    that change my perspective?

    ?? ??


  • Look for a Second Right AnswerHere are some old rules of school that may be holding you back:

    1. There is only one right answer.2. The teacher is always right.3. The right answer is in the Teachers Edition.4. Dont pass notes.

    To create an environment for ideas, the new rules are the exact opposite than those from school.So, look for second and third right answers, challenge the way it has always been done and most of all, learn how to collabrate.

    The answers still arent on the ceiling, but if you look with creative eyes, the questions might be.

  • Expect the UnexpectedStuff happens.

    Bill Nye, the Science Guy

    Im a strategic pessimist. My visionary clients are notoriously optimistic and often blinded by their love for their own ideas. So I love to hold destroy-your-business brainstorms to visualize their competitive landscape. I ask, what product, service or person could put you out of business within five years?

    Im trying to see my clients blind spots.

  • Fail ForwardA person that is open to creativity accepts failure. Indeed, the person that is open to creativity expects failure. For without failure, theres no innovation going on.At first, expecting failure might sound counterintuitive. After all, failure means a loss of money (your money), self-esteem (your self-esteem), and status (your status). But when we think in opposites, we realise that we learn through trial and error not trial and rightness. qeadz

  • Break your Patterns

    1. Move your watch to your opposite arm. 2. Listen to a new radio station.3. Watch a different newscast on TV. 4. Sit in a different seat at meetings. 5. Mix and match your clothing combinations. 6. Drive to and from work a different way. 7. Use your opposite hand for your mouse.

    These exercises will prompt your brain to look at things in different, creative ways.

    (At Least One Day per Week)

  • Disciplined DreamingWhat % of your day do you spend daydreaming?

    What % of your daydreaming is about the future?

    What % of this daydreaming do you share?

    My Take 5 recommendation:Your Action Step: Take 5

    1. Daydream for 5 minutes every day. 2. Center your daydreams 5 years in the future. 3. Share your thoughts with 5 friends.

  • Less is MoreMeetings are indispensable when you dont want

    to do anything. John Kenneth Gailbraith

    Describe your passion in 6-8 words. Cut your number of PowerPoint slides in half and double the type size. Eliminate half of the distractions on your desk and on your walls. Make your resume and every report only one page. Additional information can be an attachment, if absolutely necessary.

  • First 60 Seconds Makes a Lasting Impression

    I used to love show and tell in school.Now everyday, whether its in an elevator, a caf, an airplane or a conference room we have opportunities to show and tell our ideas, our challenges and our passions in life. To prepare for this opportunity, I encourage you to learn to communicate by just using a napkin, the back of an envelope or your iPad.

    Can you describe your idea in 60 seconds or less?

  • How to Kill Your Great Idea!1. Make sure its the only idea you ever have.2. Expect to receive all the credit.3. Never look for a second right answer.4. Wait for market surveys and full market analysis.5. Drag your feet; lack a sense of commitment.6. Run it through a committee.7. Hold lengthy meetings to explore its merit.8. Boost cost estimates, just to be safe.9. Over promise. Under deliver.

    10. Create a 100 slide road show.

    Heres your opposite thinking Great Idea Action Plan.

    Now do the exact opposite to create Great Ideas!

  • eBooks by Chic Thompson(Click Covers for an Amazon Preview)

  • Chic Thompson worked in new product development for Gore-Tex and Walt Disney and is now a Fellow in Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. In 2001, Harvard Business School wrote a case study on his entrepreneurial career. For more information: