Thinking is One of the Greatest Superpowers By Carmel O’ Reilly

Confidence in Thinking for yourself leads to confidence in Doing for yourself. Creative thinking promotes creative doing.

Thinking is One of the Greatest Superpowers is part of a series about superpowers. Thinking, learning, knowledge, experience, potential, happiness, self-awareness, observation are all superpowers. This series will consider how these superpowers can help us in our WorkLife, and how they helped people to navigate their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride.

Thinking is One of the Greatest Superpowers: A Case Study

Thinking is a Superpower

Confidence in Thinking for yourself leads to confidence in Doing for yourself. Creative thinking promotes creative doing. 

Because I help people in WorkLife transition, I sometimes get asked by people if I’m always able to tell people what job they should be doing and I have to explain that that’s not what I do. What I actually do is facilitate the process that allows people to come to this realisation themselves. In essence I help people to have clarity in their thinking.

My programmes also support job search, and I get asked if I always get people a job, to which I reply: my role is to support people in getting the job themselves. This may all sound very cliché, but when I’m performing in my role at my very best, I’m merely the facilitator in helping people do things for themselves. I meet with my clients weekly, fortnightly or whatever timeframe that allows them to carry out the objectives agreed on in our session. I always say to clients that the best work takes place away from the sessions, whether that’s research, networking or marketing themselves. These are the actions that will drive their programme in line with their needs and objectives outlined at the outset of our work together.

I sometimes use the analogy of a sports coach and the world of WorkLife, Career, Leadership and Executive and Coaching all evolved from the world of sport.  Many of my clients will have worked with a sports coach or personal trainer or will have an understanding of how these people help their clients (individuals or teams) to get the most from their performance. They don’t go out and play a game or do their fitness programme for them. They do, however, walk alongside them, supporting their motivation, determination and persistence in achieving their goals. They help them to continuously improve their performance and to be in a position to achieve things for themselves. 

Clients will want to achieve the objectives outlined at the beginning of their programme for themselves. This gives them great satisfaction and the skills they gain throughout the process remain with them and indeed help to progress their WorkLife to the next stage, because of their ability to recognise what’s unique about themselves in terms of their skills, experience, knowledge, attributes and potential. This allows them to be confident in communicating this and effectively marketing themselves, whether in writing – job application, CV, and cover letter, or in person – interviews, or in networking situations. The experience they gain in building their networks in their chosen field also remains with them and gives them the impetuous to continue to develop strong relationships, allowing them to easily navigate and progress their WorkLife when the time is right. 

I believe for every problem or question we have, we also have the ability to find the solution and the answer within us. To demonstrate this, I will tell you a story about Jack.

Book Wisdom

In my book Your WorkLife Your Way in Chapter 15 I share Jack’s story:

Some years ago, when Jack was just seven, his primary school decided they were going to form a school council with two representatives from each class. This was announced in the morning at school assembly, and the students were told that anyone who wanted to be considered would have an opportunity after lunch to speak in front of their class to be considered for nomination.

Jack relayed this to me at the end of the day when he told me he was among the candidates nominated from his class. I asked what he had done and said that resulted in his success at this initial stage. He said at lunch time he had found himself a quiet corner in the playground, and thought through what he might say. But when he stood in front of his class and saw everyone staring at him, he froze and could not remember what he was going to say. I asked what he did then, and he said: “Well I just started talking and I don’t remember what I said, but at the end everyone clapped, and I was nominated”.

He was on a high and went about developing his campaign strategy. Then one day when he came home from school, he seemed quite subdued. When I asked what was wrong, he said: “Today Owen [one of his opponents] brought cookies to school and gave one to anyone who promised to vote for him”. He asked his dad and me what he should do. We just looked at each other and wondered if we should perhaps go out and buy chocolate for Jack to give to his friends. We did not do this though, nor did we have the answer to give Jack; and so he went about working on his campaign.

At the time Jack was into both The Simpsons and The Rugrats, and he made up stickers, leaflets, posters and banners saying ‘Vote for Jack’ using these animated characters. He had the whole family involved in his campaign. Jack took himself away from the immediate problem of how to compete against Owen and his cookies by busying himself.

Then the morning of the election came, and when I dropped Jack at school I asked what he was going to say in his election speech. He said he did not know, but he was concerned that his classmates would vote for Owen because they would get another cookie. 

I waited with bated breath all day, hoping he would not be too disappointed if he was not successful. When I picked him up in the evening, I asked tentatively what happened. And Jack said: “Oh yeah, I was elected,” in a no-big-deal sort of way. “But what did you say?” I asked.

Jack answered: “Well I stood up and everyone was staring at me, and I said, Owen has promised you cookies if you vote for him, these cookies will last a couple of minutes,  I can promise to help make your dreams come true, these will last forever.” “My god Jack,” I asked, “Where did that come from?” “I don’t know,” he said. “It just came to me”.

Therein lies my belief that if we have a problem or a question, that we think we do not have the ability to cope with or the answer to, we actually do.  Quite often the solution comes to us when we take ourselves away from the immediate problem or question, and busy ourselves with something perhaps related to the issue – just as Jack did by working on his campaign. Or we may just need to distance ourselves from the problem. I find I have my most inspirational thoughts in the bath, or when I sleep on it, or when I go for a walk. The 3 B’s of creative thinking are: Bath, Bed and Bus.

Words of Wisdom

Develop a practice of continuous self-feedback to free your mind to think about what matters most, to help your creative wheels turn faster. Develop a practice of insightful self-questioning to unlock your imagination, to explore your options and to look at your possibilities. Probe your thought processes with questions that encourage creativity. Ask yourself:

If it were possible how would I do it?

If I knew the answer what would it be?

Sage Wisdom

Everything you do depends for its quality on the thinking you do first. Create time and space for thinking, time and space to look within yourself for the solution to your problem or the answer to your question.


I truly believe Thinking is one of the greatest superpowers, and once people are confident in their ability to think for themselves and believe they have the answers they need within them, this instils the belief they can do for themselves. The ultimate satisfaction for me in my work is when my clients are confident in thinking and doing for themselves, and creative thinking promotes creative doing.

As for Jack, well at the time he was successful in being elected to represent his class on the school council he loved Jackie Chan films and earned himself the nickname among his classmates as ‘Jackie Chan the first school council man’.

Today’s book of the blog is: Your WorkLife Your Way By Carmel O’ Reilly

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associate Programme. This means if you click through and make a purchase through my referral links, I’ll be compensated. Using the links won’t cost you anything extra, and it helps to keep the blog. Thank you.

WorkLife Book Wisdom 

The intention of this blog is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride. 

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife story. 

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

I’m Carmel O’ Reilly, Founder of I’m the author Your WorkLife Your Way, blogger and podcaster on the subject of WorkLife. My work focuses on helping people to live their best WorkLives, by managing their learning, development and growth, through effective self-feedback, insightful self-questions and the ability to shape and tell their unique story. My Mission is: “To spread the power of WorkLives lived with Passion, Purpose and Pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.”

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