Getting an objective perspective on your businesses and ideas can be tricky. You are so ingrained in the sentiments, hopes, and dreams accompanying the ideas that you cannot see them clearly. Don’t get me wrong, objective clarity isn’t the goal – you need a bit of distorted passion for launching an idea into the world. But it is valuable to take a step back and simultaneously see the forest and the trees.
Here are some tools to help do just that:
- The magazine headline test.
- The friendly counsel test.
- The 3rd person in the room.
The Magazine Headline Test
Imagine you are walking down the street in NYC past one of its quintessential magazine stands, and you have 5 seconds as you pass to read some magazine headlines – what would stop you in your tracks?
This is the magazine headline test.
Visualize this experience and place your idea on the magazine and newspaper covers. Does your business or idea make you stop and want to know more? This test is an excellent way to test your concept and hone how you present it. Work on a headline that would interest you until it is clear and concise. This tool works to get perspective and edit your concept until it is easy to relay to others. Both are so intertwined that working on existence and packaging simultaneously is essential.
The Friendly Counsel Test
What advice would you give a friend?
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What would you say if you imagined someone coming to you with your idea or business? What about handling an issue you are facing? Pick out a person in your life and pretend they are bringing you your problem or idea; chances are you would have more clarity speaking with them than you do in your thought process. Apply that thinking to yourself. The key is not to overthink it. The raw take will be closest to how you would consider this situation as an objective observer.
The 3rd Person in the Room
If you don’t want to feel a little crazy, this technique isn’t for you. But if you want to follow the science, welcome the idea of illeism. Illeism is referring to yourself in the third person; the third person in the room is you. If you think this sounds a little narcissistic or annoying, the science says it increases wisdom and clarity of thought. How does it work?
You use your name in the third person when you think through situations as you talk or journal through the scenario. Research shows that you zoom out of your thought process when you use your first name instead of me or I.
“In one experiment, at Moser’s Clinical Psychophysiology Lab, participants viewed neutral and disturbing images and reacted to the images in both the first and third person while an electroencephalograph monitored their brain. When reacting to the disturbing photos (such as a man holding a gun to their heads), participants’ emotional brain activity decreased very quickly (within 1 second) when they referred to themselves in the third person.” WeForum
Don’t overcomplicate this technique. Let’s say your name is Fred. Instead of thinking, “Why am I upset?” you say, “Why is Fred upset?” The studies show this clears away the fog of our biases just enough to make an impact. The result is clarity and emotional intelligence beyond the situation at hand.
When looking for objectivity, don’t forget to talk to the third person in the room, even when you are alone.
If you need to evaluate yourself, your ideas, or your business objectively, try these three methods.