Accessing your Third Mind
I learned not long ago that sitting alone in a room trying to think was a fool’s errand.
I think much better when my subconscious is mulling things over, when I’m in the shower and when I go for walks.
But the most powerful instance of unlocking new ideas is when I’m locked in fascinating conversations with others.
Introducing the Third Mind
This concept is inspired by the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, which discusses how when two people talk, the room is taken up by three minds.
The mind of Person One.
The mind of Person Two.
And then the Third Mind – the mind that comes to exist because of the interaction of these two Persons engaged in conversation.
The whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.
Bringing two people together does not double their creative power – it squares it. This is the power of the Third Mind.
This force is so powerful because two dynamic organisms are brought together, giving each other very rich feedback, such that a Third and more powerful Mind comes to be.
Third Mind Moments I recall
The gutsy decision to shut down From the Ground Up came from a conversation between myself and Nick Abraham in Dubrovnik in 2018.
A pivot in our real estate model to try a $9,999 fee model came via a random, open-ended conversation between myself and my colleague Andrew in 2019.
These ideas are just a few examples of ideas that neither party would have arrived at on their own. The ramifications however are massive.
How many Third Mind Moments have been missed?
Now let’s invert the situation. I shudder to think at how many Third Mind Moments and breakthroughs I’ve missed by remaining insular and closed-off at many points of my journey.
This cost of inaction must be real, if not tangible or quantifiable. So we must ask ourselves today, how are we keeping the door to the Third Mind shut?
How to access the Third Mind
It is not just by bringing two or more people together in any situation and circumstance that we come to unlock a Third Mind. Rather, we need open-minded people who allow each of the voices present to express themselves safely.
If a mind is closed, it cannot open and connect with another to form the Third.
The better we get at thinking collectively rather than individually or in-competition, the greater our capacities.
The meritocracies at companies like Pixar and Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates show us the powerful instances of Third Mind Thinking.
The myth of the brilliant individual at the top of an organisational pyramid with a thousand helpers is one we have fallen into by continuing to create individual rather than team-based awards and recognition.
No individuals here.
Nobel Prizes, Academy Awards, Gold Medals, Wimbledon Crowns and Ballon d’Or go to individuals, and skim over the importance of team accomplishments and contributions.
In sport we can observe this most directly. Teams with inferior resources that work well together and are well-balanced outperform teams with stars thrown together. It is easy to defend an individual by doubling up on them or depriving them of service.
But a team with multiple threats is more difficult. Worse still, is the team who have a deep and intricate understanding of one another.
Thanks to the Netflix Documentary The Last Dance, we learnt that basketball’s greatest ever player, Michael Jordan, was taken to another level when he was pushed to ‘open doors for others’ by new incoming coach Phil Jackson in 1989, instead of being a solo-performer.
Ironically it was by creating more for others that he was able to elevate his own game than if he’d doubled down on himself.
In other words, why use Two Minds at odds when a Third is available?
Who do you think of when you read this? Would this piece open a door for them?
Remember, the best way to open a thousand doors for yourself is to open doors for others.