DCL 1.3 Instruction | Our Thinking: Today’s Thinking Gives Me an Advantage

Video Presentation: Tom Atema, VP of International Ministries and Strategic Partnerships, EQUIP


Developing my mind may be the one asset that sets me apart from others. One author said: “What is important are ideas. If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn’t any limit to what you can do with your business and your life.”

Effective leaders develop their minds. They become good thinkers over time, and they think differently than followers do. A clinical psychologist by the name of Dr. J. Robert Clinton said, “The primary difference between followers and leaders is perspective. The primary difference between leaders and effective leaders is better perspective.” It is a discipline, however, that very few people possess. Take a moment and assess your present thought life:

1.  Do you set aside time for disciplined thinking about certain issues?
2.  When do you take time to think? When is your best time?
3.  What prevents you from the discipline of a strong and healthy thought life?


Biblical Case Study: Solomon’s Priorities (I Kings 3:4-15)

Solomon had just assumed his reign over God’s people, following his father, King David. God told King Solomon He would give him whatever he asked. In that pivotal moment, Solomon had the good judgment to ask for wisdom instead of selfish gifts that most men want. He knew that his thinking would make or break his life and leadership.

Solomon based his thinking on God’s perspective:

1.  His agenda was not his own, but a grateful response to God’s goodness (v.6).
2.  His incentive revolved around his God-given leadership responsibility (v.7).
3.  His request was for wisdom that would match his large task (v.8).
4.  His perspective recognized that the people he led were not his people, but God’s people    (v.9).
5.  His thinking was rewarded with more than he expected (v.10-13).


Different Kinds of Thinking
(Based on John C. Maxwell’s book, Thinking for a Change)

1.   Big Picture Thinking: The ability to think beyond yourself and your world in order to be more objective
2.   Focused Thinking: The ability to think with clarity by removing distractions from your mind
3.   Creative Thinking: The ability to break out of your “box” of limitations and explore totally new ideas
4.   Realistic Thinking: The ability to build a solid foundation on facts in order to think with certainty
5.   Strategic Thinking: The ability to implement plans that give direction and increase your potential
6.   Possibility Thinking: The ability to unleash your enthusiasm and hope to find solutions for the impossible
7.   Reflective Thinking: The ability to revisit the past in order to gain perspective and understanding for the future
8.   Critical Thinking: The ability to reject the limitations of popular thought to gain uncommon results
9.   Critical Thinking: The ability to include the ideas of others in order to gain compound results
10. Unselfish Thinking: The ability to consider others and their journey in order to achieve collaboration
11.  Bottom-Line Thinking: The ability to focus on maximum results to reap your thoughts’ fullest potential



  • Which kind of thinking is your strongest?
  • Which kind of thinking would you like to improve the most?


Managing the Discipline of Thinking

Here are some practical steps to take to begin the discipline of thinking.

1.  Find a place to think.
2.  Set aside time every day to think.
3.  Find a process or system that works for you.
4.  Capture your thoughts and record them.
5.  Put your thoughts into actions quickly.
6.  Try to improve your thinking every day. 


DCL Meditation and Inspiration Media and Notes © Willow Creek Association.
DCL Instruction Media and Notes © EQUIP Million Leaders Mandate Volume 2.