People often ask others what they think about various things. But what someone thinks about something isn’t really thinking. We all have thoughts, opinions and viewpoints. We reflect on things that have happened and speculate on what may happen. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But having thoughts is not thinking. I think (pun intended) that real thinking involves asking questions. It requires us to ponder, to weigh various options, to connect things that weren’t connected before and ultimately to make choices based on our thinking.
So how do YOU think? What processes do you use? How do you test and clarify your thinking? Do you write things out? Do you discuss them with others? Do you test and question your own premises?
Metathinking is thinking about what we’re thinking about. And my sense is it’s rare that we do much of that.
I believe that our minds are better designed for critical thinking than they are as a filing cabinet. And yet our educational system seems more focused on information than on processing that information. I moved around a lot in my younger years and perhaps I missed the class, but nowhere in my formal education was a course on critical thinking. I don’t remember much discussion at all about how to think effectively.
With the vast universe of knowledge expanding as rapidly as it is and with entire industries being born and dying within a generation, this seems like kind of a no-brainer to me.
So the question remains. How do you think? And how much time do you actually spend thinking?
Do successful people think differently than unsuccessful people? Does it take a high IQ to think clearly, interpret accurately and evaluate with discernment?
What role does common sense play? How do we know when our facts are inaccurate or incomplete?
Do you consider yourself a good thinker? Do you solve problems effectively? Do you feel clear or muddled most of the time?
Can we LEARN to think better? It seems logical to me that we can.
But unless we ask the question, unless we think about what we’re thinking about, and unless we have a desire to improve our capacity to think more critically, it’s unlikely that we will.
I’m planning to write a book on successful thinking. And as I research the subject over the next few months, I will share with you what I find. I’ll share what I’m thinking and what I’m thinking about.
And hopefully that will be something for you to think about.