- Henry Ford
I was going to start this post with a definition of the word think but it's far too large you can go read it on your own. Instead I will break it down to a more functional and simplistic view.
Thinking consists of three things
- Problem Solving (Present)
- Remembering (Past)
- Anticipating (Future)
In the expansive technological age people are thinking less and less. Less creative thinking, less critical thinking, less constructive thinking not because we can't it's because we don't have to as much anymore. Technology provides and we are beginning to find out, it's damaging our ability to be productive from household projects to business applications.
Some say we are getting lazier and lazier. I would tend to agree with that observation.
No more energy is use in using your brain than used to just keep it alive, so don't be afraid to use it. Life is a battle of wits so why are you fighting unarmed?
Two things are needed to think different, effective and to be more productive. You need knowledge and you need organization. The reason you can't think effectively about certain problems, topics, or situations is that you don't have enough knowledge or experience. Without knowledge you have no reference or starting point for constructive thoughts. So what happens, especially to those who are fakers, is that you attempt to contribute but do it from the wrong premise and therefore think incorrectly.
Don't fake it you will end up looking more like a fool than stepping back and observing, experiencing or even asking for help. It's OK to say 'I don't know'. You'd be surprised that people will actually stop and help you if you are willing to learn. I touched on this concept in my last post - Selfishness Is OK As Long As You Consider Others.
In order to gain knowledge you must take time and go out and get it. Aside from a definite and particular problem, relevant knowledge can only be gained through experience. That can be through social interactions, listening to others, from reading about that topic or from society in general. However, just doing those things doesn't mean you will gain all the knowledge. You must have a genuine interest and/or curiosity about a subject to gain much knowledge about it.
For example, if you want to write a novel reading a book on how to write a novel isn't enough. You have to want learn how to write, understand language, structure, story building and enjoy it. If not you will only be reading for the sake of reading and not turning it into knowledge.
Read with your mind, not with your eyes and never stop learning.
Now that you have all this knowledge gathering happening it's not very useful is you don't organize it. It would be like forcing to straighten a knotted garden hose without stopping and finding where the ends looped through. Thoughts are not organized unless they are directed toward some goal. Daydreaming is not thinking.
Get a notebook and keep it handy, use task lists, print off article and file them, and go back and re-read your notes. Next time you are working on a problem, any problem, get organized and write down your thoughts. Once the thought has been created and your mind processes it they are lost just as quickly. The human mind is a fantastic creation center but not such a great file cabinet.
Over time as your knowledge gathering and organization skills are practiced they will get better and better. As that matures so will the way you think effectively and you will find yourself in less ruts, less often.
Time to turn the page.