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What Color is Your Thinking?


Marilyn Schoeman Dow



The color of our thinking impacts the degree of our success.

Who are today’s survivors? Whose expansion - or expulsion - will we be reading about tomorrow? Those positioned to flourish In the future are those whose color of thinking is green. The green-light style of thinking is one of action, confidence and optimism.

Two equally talented people often vary greatly in Their achievement. Frequently, a key distinguishing factor in their success is the “color“ of their thinking.

Green-light thinkers keep Their foot on the accelerator. They move forward almost automat ally. Red-light thinkers keep their foot on the brake. They remain motionless as green-light thinkers breeze by. In marketing, the life span of red-lighters continually decreases.

Green-lighters come from a can-do perspective. Progress is in process. They understand That success is possible, major goals can be achieved. They see making it happen as primarily a matter of details. They are the movers and The shakers - even in slow times.

Red-lighters are almost anti-action. they are the blockers and barriers. They become immovable objects. They consistently resist change - even when the status quo clearly isn't working. As the rate of change continues to accelerate, they are left further and further behind. In effect, they shift into reverse and back out of sight.

Green-light thinking is creative, productive and more fun. Red-light thinking is unimaginative, counterproductive and dull. The green-light style is positive; red-light thinkers focus on the obstacle.

Whether targeting a prospect, planning an ad campaign or presenting a proposal, green-light thinkers ask, “How can we make it work?” Red-light thinkers ask, “Can it work?” Another one will quickly answer, “No’.” - end of discussion.

It almost doesn’t matter what the issue is. Green-light - with a long term goal and vision of success - move to “How will we make it work?” That focus tends to foster a belief in and greater likelihood of success.

In presentations on innovative thinking, I’ve often gotten feedback that the concept of green=light, red-light think was especially helpful. It provided a powerful and practical tool for people to use the rest of their lives.

A third color can impact progress = the yellow-light thinker. In a constant state of caution, they are the fence sitters. They just can’t make a decision. they wait to see which way the wind blows. These days, they get knocked over by they wind from the group.

Futurist Dan Burris, in his new book, Technotrends, How to Use Technology to Go Beyond Your Competition, (Harper Business Books) states, “We’ve been issued a new deck of cards. We’d better learn how to play the game.” The book reviews critical core technologies and offers new rules and new tools for thriving in the future. Green-light thinkers possess the trump card for winning the game of the future.

Stiffer competition, greater uncertainty and a wilder pace make green light thinking indispensable in the marketing world. We owe it to our selves to hit the road with the green light glowing. We need green-light question, green-light actions and attitudes.

WE must find green-light colleagues and work places. For our sanity as well as our success, we need to adopt the green-light style. As you travel through life - may you see green lights all the way.


Owner of ThinkLink and past-president of the American Creativity Association, Marilyn promotes innovative action, teambuilding and managing change in keynotes, coaching and seminars. Her products include BOFF-O!® (Brain On Fast Forward) problem solving deck/system.

For information about presentations and strategizing sessions, contact Ms. Dow at ThinkLink in Seattle, WA by email or by calling 206-200-7212

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