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Aug 15, 2018

Dave Gray had me at “Assume that you are not objective. If you’re part of the system you want to change, you’re part of the problem.” That teaching intensified by the basic exericse of writing down my beliefs about a challenging situation I found myself in and then coming up with 3 or 4 alternate beliefs, both plausible and outlandish, proven useful immediately.

My new favorite book is Liminal Thinking. Dave Gray is this crazy cool mix of design thinking, business team strategist, writer, and enlightened illustrator. I was sort of shocked he agreed to the interview. Then I found out that he is really interested in the results of us ordinary people reading his book and doing the exercises.

He was surprised I did the exercises. He said most people don’t do them. So, I invite you, before you listen to the rest of this show, press pause. Write down a challenge you have. Now. “Assume that you are not objective. If you’re part of the system you want to change, you’re part of the problem.” Write down the core belief or beliefs inherent in the way you wrote down the your challenge. The more outside your box the better. I’ve found that diametrically opposite beliefs are very insightful here. That’s it. You are thinking beyond your threshold. Welcome to liminal thinking. Press play.

Create the change you want by changing the way you think


I rap with Dave Gray about the Changing the Way We Think

  • How to ““Hold your theories loosely”
  • Why do we assume we’re objective, when we’re usually not?
  • Where meditation fits into liminal thinking
  • Why travel, moving + new relationship arrangements, and true leaders stimulate liminal thinking


What you’ll get out of tuning in:    

  • How this plays into current politics
  • How Gandhi stimulated the masses into liminal thinking
  • Understanding the relationship between beliefs and needs




Favorite Quotes:


  1. Assume that you are not objective. If you’re part of the system you want to change, you’re part of the problem.
  2. Empty your cup. You can’t learn new things without letting go of old things. Stop, look, and listen. Suspend judgment. What’s going on?
  3. Create safe space. If you don’t understand the underlying need, nothing else matters. People will not share their innermost needs unless they feel safe, respected, and accepted for who they are.
  4. Triangulate and validate. Look at situations from as many points of view as possible. Consider the possibility that seemingly different or contradictory beliefs may be valid. If something doesn’t make sense to you, then you’re missing something.
  5. Ask questions, make connections. Try to understand people’s hopes, dreams and frustrations. Explore the social system and make connections to create new opportunities.
  6. Disrupt routines. Many beliefs are embedded in habitual routines that run on autopilot. If a routine is a problem, disrupt the routine to create new possibilities.
  7. Act as-if in the here-and-now. You can test beliefs even if you don’t believe they are true. All you need to do is act as if they were true and see what happens. If you find something that works, do more of it.
  8. Make sense with stories. If you give people facts without a story, they will explain it within their existing belief system. The best way to promote a new or different belief is not with facts, but with a story.
  9. Evolve yourself. If you can be open about how change affects you personally, you have a better chance of achieving your aims. To change the world, you must be willing to change yourself.



Dave Gray is a leader and manager with a background in design. He has worked with many of the world’s largest companies, as well as mid-sized businesses, startups, executives and individuals.

He is the founder of XPLANE, a strategic design consultancy, and co-founder of Boardthing, a collaboration platform for distributed teams.

He is the author of two books on design, change and innovation: Gamestorming: A playbook for innovators, rule-breakers and changemakers; and The Connected Company.

His area of focus is the human side of change and innovation, specifically: How can you get people to adopt new ideas? How can you win their hearts and minds? How can you get people, including yourself, to change deeply embedded habits and behaviors? How can you transform a business strategy from a good idea to a living fact in the real world? Connect with Dave on his website and facebook group.