It seems strange that I have been doing Five Thoughts for several months now and this the first time it has crossed my mind to do five thoughts on thinking. As with most of these blogs my thought process was triggered by something I read. My current morning reading of choice is Dave Trott’s One Plus One Equals Three.
If you have read any of Dave’s Trott’s books you will know that he is both thought provoking and entertaining. Half way down a page something he wrote had me reaching for my notebook and make these five observations about thinking.
- There is a difference between thinking and daydreaming. Daydreaming, that moment when you let your mind just drift. You are not really thinking, you probably can’t even remember what crossed your mind, if anything. Daydreaming is an aimless activity, nothing wrong with that but it’s not thinking. Thinking has a certain creative and critical element to it and, to my mind at least, it leads somewhere.
- “It’s the thought that counts.” I have no doubt you’ve heard that expression actually you’ve probably said it. Normally it’s said when you are given a totally inappropriate gift but you are grateful that at least they thought of you. Not very well obviously for such a crap present. Thinking has to be more than just a fleeting recognition. Thinking must surely lead to doing and some form of doing that makes a difference.
- Thinking has surely got to be positive and not negative. The problem with thinking, well over thinking really, is that it can quickly turn to negativity. You think about all the reasons why something can’t be done. Sometimes just going ahead without over thinking something is the way to go. I am not advocating recklessness but sometimes you just need to think on your feet, solve the problems as you encounter them not as your think about them.
- Do less thinking. I have read so many top class performers, actors, athletes, artists etc talk about how they feel at their best when they just do stuff without thinking. When they over think something it all seems to go wrong. Of course they are not making it up as they go along, far from it. That level of achieving without thinking comes from hours and hours of practice and dedication but in that moment of high achievement everything comes naturally. It just flows without conscious thought. What a place to be. If you think you could never reach that level just remember you probably drive your car without much thought. Not carelessly, it just becomes second nature, natural like breathing.
- Think differently. The way we think is probably the result of years of practice. We all get into a certain way of thinking about the world and the way it works. As human beings we like routine. There is safety in routine and I have no doubt we develop thought patterns along the same lines. We think a certain way because that is the way we have always thought. We have always thought that way because we have been taught and have learnt that is the way to think. Maybe we need to UNTHINK. To find another way of thinking. Not sure how you do that but it’s a thought, isn’t it?
The passage from Dave Trott’s book is on age 71 – When Thinking gets in the way