How To Think To Get What You Want
Can you describe the science of thinking in a few words? If you find it difficult to break down the actual process of thinking in ...
Can you describe the science of thinking in a few words?
If you find it difficult to break down the actual process of thinking in a way that’s not only convincing to yourself but to another person as well, there might be a gap in your perceived understanding of the subject.
But it’s not your fault. Let me explain.
Most people have been told what to think for so long that they never learned how to think in a creative way. The ability to direct their own mental focus sounds alien to them.
We’ve been conditioned as a society to work hard but not to think hard.
My job with this article is not only to show you how to think to get virtually anything you want, but also how to think critically so that you can make the right choices in life.
How To Think Vs. What To Think
Some of the culprits to blame for the “what to think” mentality instead of “how to think” approach are:
• School System
• Organized religion
• The Media
And let me make this clear right at the start: I don’t want you to blame your family, friends or the aforementioned institutions. You see, some of those people are victims themselves with good intentions at heart.
It’s just that without the ability to think independently everyone just regurgitates what they’ve been told. The same goes for me. Up until 10 years ago, I was a victim of “mush-brain,” too. It wasn’t until I mastered the secret of the universe that I learned how think creatively and critically - two skills which are key to a successful life.
It’s time for all of us to stop obsessing over “what to think” and learn “how to think” to become better versions of ourselves.
I find that people are confused about thinking just as much as they’re about money. Yet mastering those two aspects of our life is key to human survival and ultimately thriving in the physical world.
The Secret of Conscious Thinking
The first step of learning how to think is to start thinking consciously.
When I decided to write a post about this topic, I did extensive research online and offline to see if could find a better answer than the one I’m about to share with you on conscious thinking. Some of the sources left me with more questions than answers while others provided partial clarity and were too long and boring.
Below I want to share with you some of the more valuable insights about conscious thinking that I was able to find:
“The action of using your mind to produce ideas, decisions, memories, etc. the activity of thinking about something, opinion or judgment, a way of thinking that is characteristic of a particular group, time period, etc.” - Mariam Webster
“Thinking is conscious and it is active. It is the kind of cognitive process that can make new connections and create meaning. It is dialogic: it has the quality of an internal conversation between different perspectives, although the 'give-and-take' quality of external dialogues may not always be immediately obvious. And it is linguistic: verbal for those of us who use spoken language, visual for those of us who use sign language to communicate with others and with ourselves.” - Charles Fernyhough PhD
“It’s about thoughts and visualizing something you want.” - Mike from Starbucks coffee
Since I wasn’t completely satisfied with the above answers, I had to carve out my simple definition of conscious thinking in a way that left nothing to imagination and brings out the “A-ha” experience both for me and the other person on the receiving end.
When we think, you are actually doing these 3 things:
1. You’re asking a question
2. You’re answering that question
3. You’re making a decision
This is the blueprint of our thinking process which you will not learn anywhere else.
If you can catch yourself going through these three steps as you’re thinking, you’ll be able to truly master your thinking. Most schools don’t teach this kind of knowledge because they traditionally don’t focus on “How to think.” The only way I was able to figure out the the answer was through meticulous analysis of my own thinking process.
Applying Conscious Thinking
Here’s an example of how I use this 3 step thinking process to motivate myself to work out even if I don’t feel like taking action.
Asking The Right Question
First of all, not all questions are created equal. It’s all about making sure you’re asking the right questions. If you get the question right, you’re going to be making the right decision in the end. Therefore I pay close attention to my questions to make sure I’m not asking a lousy one. Because if you ask the wrong question, the answer doesn’t really matter, you’re going to end up producing the wrong - and probably lousy - results.
Let’s look at an example. If I ask the question “should I work out today?” the control center of my body may tell me yes or no. In other words, I’m giving my mind the option to choose no, which means no workout for today.
So in my questions, failure is not an option. I wordsmith my questions in a way that I simply can’t answer with a no.
Since I’m a control freak with an absolute desire for certainty, I might instead ask “how can I challenge my body in a positive way while enjoying nature at the same time?” Whatever the answer to that question, it’s 100% positive that I’m going to work out today so it’s a win-win.
Here’s me pictured below proving that I’ve used the 3 step thinking process to get what I want.
How To Develop Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is a term that we hear about a lot, but many people don't really stop to think about what it means or how to use it. This lesson will tell you exactly what it means and make you realize that the average person largely ignores critical thinking.
Critical Thinking Defined
Critical thinking means making reasoned judgments that are logical and well thought out. It is a way of thinking in which you don't simply accept all arguments and conclusions you are exposed to but rather have an attitude involving questioning such arguments and conclusions.
It requires wanting to see what evidence is involved to support a particular argument or conclusion. People who use critical thinking are the ones who say things such as, 'How do you know that? Is this conclusion based on evidence or gut feelings?' and 'Are there alternative possibilities when given new pieces of information?'
Additionally, critical thinking can be divided into the following three core skills:
1. Curiosity is the desire to learn more information and seek evidence as well as being open to new ideas.
2. Skepticism involves having a healthy questioning attitude about new information that you are exposed to and not blindly believing everything everyone tells you.
3. Finally, humility is the ability to admit that your opinions and ideas are wrong when faced with new convincing evidence that states otherwise.
Using Critical Thinking Skills
Many people decide to make changes in their daily lives based on anecdotes, or stories from one person's experience.
For example, let's say that your aunt told you that she takes a vitamin C supplement every day. She also told you that one morning she was running late for work and forgot to take her vitamin C supplement. That afternoon, she developed a cold. She now insists that you take vitamin C every day or you will get sick, just like she did in her story. Many people hearing this story would just accept this and think, 'To avoid getting sick I should take vitamin C.'
Although this type of logic is very common, it lacks critical thinking skills. If we examine this anecdote a little more carefully, you should be able to understand why. For starters, we don't know where the idea for vitamin C stopping illness even came from. Why did your aunt decide to take vitamin C rather than vitamin D, or any other vitamin?
Also, there was never any indication given that there exists a direct link between not taking vitamin C and developing a cold. At first glance, it may seem that way. However, there could be many other variables involved that have nothing to do with vitamin C. Maybe she was already developing a cold and that particular day it just happened to manifest itself. Maybe a sick person sneezed on her in the elevator that morning.
Any number of possibilities could have happened, and from just this story, we simply do not have enough information. All of this speculation as to the validity of this particular observation is considered skepticism.
Final ThoughtsI hope this article helped you streamline your thinking in a scientific way. Being more mindful of our thoughts and developing the skill of using our mental resources in with laser beam precision is key to success in life. With my blueprint of the thinking process in hand, you’ll be able to control how you think and motivate yourself to be more productive and focused throughout the day. If you have any questions or if there’s anything you’d like to add, make sure you drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.