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Make Way for a Different Kind of Thinking

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Make Way for a Different Kind of Thinking

I distinctly recall when Nathan began seeing me for counseling. He was a skinny, sensitive kid with a big heart. At age 13, he struggled in the midst of a tumultuous custody battle that left emotional scars. My job was to prop him up - to give him hope that things would change for the better - and they did.

Nathan came back to see me three years after he had "graduated" from therapy. He brought his new guitar and treated me to few melodies in the privacy of my own office. He was serenading me - it was a gift for being there for him. However, Nathan's visit took on a more important purpose. He came to tell me, in so many words, how he had become a different kind of thinker - the type of young person who inevitably would change the very foundations upon how we view matter and energy and life itself. At age 16, Nathan had graduated from a college preparatory high school and made his way to a prestigious university to study nanotechnology.

As I intently listened, Nathan explained that nanotechnology will allow us to snap together the fundamental building blocks of nature more easily, more cost effectively, and in a way that is permitted through the laws of physics. Nanotechnology has the ability to transform our thinking about science, physical health and disease, emotional well-being, computer programming, and travel to outer space. Not only was Nathan "studying" this complex, molecular thinking, but he was actually conducting research with the world's greatest scientists in this technological field.

Like an H. G. Wells of his time, Nathan passionately projected what the world would look like in the next 15 years due to his work. His words seemed prophetic and powerful, and I sense that I was sitting before one of a new age of young people - the dreamers, the problem-solvers, the visionaries who would create a new way of thinking about thinking. These are not “egg-heads,” but balanced, well-rounded kids who have the capacity to not only reflect on problems but to communicate about how the world will dramatically change due to their influence.

Nathan represents an influx of thinkers among thinkers, who will quietly work behind the scenes to make things happen. These are not our future leaders or managers, but those who empty themselves of all internal clutter or preconceived notions about how the world works. By staying open to the truth, wherever they may find it, new, exciting discoveries will be made that will impact all aspects of the human condition.

Like Nathan, our future thinkers can recognize the qualities and significance of emptiness. They can handle the perplexing nature of uncertainty and ambiguity. They understand that there are multiple dimensions to any problem with conflicting and paradoxical meanings. They are willing to surrender conventional notions about how the world works in order to make room for the new. By cutting a path through the clutter and letting go of a traditional means of thinking, these talented young people will open themselves up to what Robert Schuller referred to as, "possibility thinking."
In the midst of all the incivility and strife that we are faced with, Nathan will make a difference. He has not forgotten what it was like to stand face to face at a young age with problems that were bigger than he was capable of solving. He will use that experience to empower and propel him in a direction to bring peace as he thinks about and humbly solves problems that raise hope and healing for all humanity.

James P. Krehbiel, Ed.S., LPC is an author, freelance writer and nationally certified cognitive-behavioral therapist practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona. James is the featured Shrink Rap columnist for, an upscale arts, entertainment and lifestyle web magazine. He has contracted with New Horizon Press to publish his latest work entitled, The Search for Adulthood: Saying Goodbye to the Magical Illusions of Childhood. James can be reached at

Lesson by jamespkrehbiel

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