Mental Strengths: Some people are stronger at solving problems with one correct answer. They are convergent thinkers. Other people are stronger at solving problems with multiple solutions. They are divergent thinkers.
Aligning your career with the way your brain works will increase your ability to excel in the workplace. How can you shape your career around the way you think? Here are some ideas that may help you understand your strengths and weaknesses.
What Kind of Solutions Come to You More Easily?
To understand how your brain works, consider these two types of problem solving.
Some people have terrific skills for solving problems that have only one answer.
2 + 2 =?
The specific answer is 4.
When people solve this type of problem, they are using convergent intelligence. Their reasoning converges or comes together to settle on this one answer. Their mental strengths can give them happier lives and more successful careers by working in roles that require convergent thinking.
Divergent thinking skills enable people to see multiple solutions to the same problem. For example, many people climb a mountain by following a well-marked, well known path. This is the path most people know and the only path that most people take.
However, other people see multiple paths for climbing the same mountain. These people not only discover new paths. Their discoveries may help other people find ways of doing the same thing in new and more interesting ways.
Their mental strengths can give them happier lives and more successful careers by working in roles that require divergent thinking.
What Type of Problems Do You Like to Solve?
If you like to solve problems with convergent thinking, developing careers for solving those types of problems should be enjoyable for you.
Nearly every industry needs convergent thinkers. Whether you are an English teacher grading papers or an engineer validating the structural integrity of a bridge, you must have the ability to see fundamental answers specific to individual problems.
On the other hand, some industries rely heavily on creative solutions. Inventors are people who have success with divergent thinking. They find better ways of doing things. These people innovate. They look at existing platforms like computers and create new solutions using this platform. In the case of building bridges these people can design new bridges and turn the convergent tasks over to architects and engineers who can solve the integrity issues.
When to Use Both Ways of Thinking
If you are starting a company, you may have to solve problems that require convergent and divergent solutions. You are alone or have a small staff.
However, as your company grows, you can outsource jobs that challenge your patience and effectiveness. Furthermore, you can become more successful working in the areas where your attention focuses on your mental strengths.
There is no rule that baseball catchers cannot develop the skills to play first base or that a pitcher cannot also be a pinch hitter. Likewise, broadening your skills in both convergent and divergent thinking can increase your career intelligence. You can play at a higher level in jobs that require both types of thinking.
In this case, career intelligence is viewing opportunities to become smarter and more capable by using both types of skills. Finding jobs where you can broaden your career intelligence (that is, convergent and divergent thinking) most effectively will help you become more successful.
Moreover, developing skills in areas of both convergent and divergent thinking will help you throughout your career.
At the same time, stick to your core strengths. Working in the areas where your mind is more powerful will more easily enable you to succeed. Natural catchers are more effective behind the plate than playing a secondary, more challenging position.
When are you most effective? What roles play to your mental strengths?
Some people are naturally more gifted to think convergently. These people learn quickly and can apply what they learn to solving problems
Other people are more gifted to think divergently. With less knowledge than convergent thinkers, the people see options intuitively. They excel in helping companies find new ways to succeed in failing conditions.