ABC Resolution: think system

Think System

What if all the answers were already in our heads?

Remember Professor Harold Hill’s ‘Think System’ from The Music Man? Think about how to play a musical instrument and we can do it. In business and sports, we call this concept envisioning. In life, we call it dreaming. We think, imagine in our mind’s eye the idea, goal, the way. Then we are able to do it. What a wonderful concept.

Sadly, we are often taught not to think new thoughts but to memorize old ones. Take others’ ideas and processes, not as advice, guidelines or jumping off points, but as rules and mandates. We are commanded to unquestioningly obey in our institutions and enticed to blindly buy in and by our corporations. ‘Follow the Leader’ as ‘Simon Says.’ Behaviors learned in childhood games at a young age.

What if, instead of being asked to remember the correct answers for a test, we were given the answers and then asked to puzzle out the questions? This is the real beauty of the Professor’s Think System. Not only are we enjoined to see the vision, but then we are asked to figure out how to fulfill it.

Hill gave the children something more important than music lessons. He gave them the will and confidence to think, try, or as it’s called today, hack it out for themselves. To trust in their own innate abilities and powers of discovery. They didn’t let him, or themselves, down.

resolve to: release your brain


Only time will tell whether the switch to technology will ultimately be better for humankind. Having been an early adopter for over thirty years, my hindsight raised may concerns. My biggest comes from when we switched from what I characterize as active technology to passive technology. Early personal computing duplicated business activities. Today’s personal computing has lost much of this. We passively listen to music, watch movies, surf the web. Our brains are loaded, often overloaded, with data to which it is often unable to sort into coherent or actionable thoughts.

The answer, when called into question, is the future will be different. Different as in –  just different, not necessarily better. If so, the next question then becomes, can we affect this different. Make it lean in one direction, or another, preferably for the good. Perhaps we are way past the void of disruption, where we have the opportunity to influence outcomes toward the positive. So thorough the disruption and diffusion by technology that remnants of the past structure, ones we took centuries to construct, will only be cosmic dust? I think not, or rather hope not.

I believe there is still a window. A piece of time left where human brains can unleash influential creativity. Potential that can be discharged and energy directed for the betterment of all. I also believe that window is closing fast. It takes will from as many Harold and Harriet Hills as can be mustered to encourage and support this outcome. Pessimistically, I admit, a set of resources that appears to be dwindling rapidly. So let’s take a page out of the Professor’s book and cultivate Think Systems in ourselves and others.

resolve to: release your self