“Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.”
—David Foster Wallace, late American writer and university professor
Image from Unsplash by Thought Catalog
In late January, we reached our 2,000th Quotable Coach post, which represents eight years of Monday-thru-Friday posts to you, our loyal readers.
Beyond making these nuggets of wisdom available to others, this daily exercise is part of my own cerebral workout for my mental muscles.
Posing a wide variety of questions to you (and to myself) has increased my self-awareness and ability to guide my life professionally and personally for the better.
In the weeks and months ahead, please consider replying to at least one post that assists you in your own thinking efforts.
A weekly reply would be great!
Please also consider sharing The Quotable Coach resource with others in your communities who might also wish to exercise greater control over how and what they think.
“There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”
—Morpheus, portrayed by Lawrence Fishburne in The Matrix
Image of Morpheus from Wikipedia
Morpheus was the Greek god of dreams. The Greek work “morphe” translates to “form” in English. Morpheus is, according to legend, the god who shapes and forms our dreams.
Although most people dream, for some reason many of us seem to forget them, including the insights they may provide, when we wake.
One strategy to consider is to keep a notepad near your bedside to fully capture the ideas and insights you wish to act upon.
What insight, dream, or priority matters are you still “in the think” about? When will you begin taking action to walk the path to realize your dream?
“Being able to think about how you think, is a sign of higher intelligence.”
Image from Unsplash by Jordan Whitfield
When was the last time you changed your mind and reconsidered your point of view?
How often do you find yourself frustrated by others because of their stubbornness or being set in their ways of thinking?
If you are brutally honest, you may quickly see that our paradigms, mental models, and biases run deep. We rarely stray from the path worn by many years of experience.
Today’s quote suggests that we can all exercise our thinking muscle and think about thinking to build the important capacity to improve our lives and better our world. We may also add a few more IQ and EQ points by doing so.
Feel free to respond to this post with tools or strategies you use to exercise your own thinking muscle. Consider picking up a copy of my book, The Quotable Coach – Daily Nuggets of Practical Wisdom, to explore 365 thinking exercises to use over the next 12 months.
“Not all things are to be discovered. Many are better concealed.”
—Sophocles, 4th Century BC Greek Writer
Image from Unsplash by Mohamadreza Ashdari
Before you speak: T.H.I.N.K.
T: Is what you are about to say TRUE?
H: Is what you plan to say HELPFUL?
I: Will what you say IMPROVE the situation?
N: Is saying it NECESSARY?
K: Is it KIND?
How would your professional and personal relationships improve if you did more thinking before you spoke? Where would more silence and concealing your inner voice be the best approach to take with selected individuals? What other aspects of your life would be better off concealed?
“The method of the enterprising is to plan with audacity and execute with vigor.”
—Christian Bovee, 19th Century New York City writer
Image from Unsplash by Simeon Jacobson
To what degree are you a “Go for it” person?
When you put on your thinking cap, how creative and bold are your ideas and plans?
Once your strategies and tactics are formulated, how inspired, energized, and motivated are you and those around you to execute them with passion and purpose?
Where and on what personal or professional priority would a far more enterprising approach be what is needed to achieve a more audacious outcome?
“Fools live to regret their words, wise men to regret their silence.”
—Will Henry, 20th Century American Screenwriter
Image from Unsplash by Jason Rosewell
Through the process of coaching, most people become far more aware and mindful of their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Too often, we see foolish individuals blurting out whatever comes to mind to make their point, exert power, diminish others, or just be “right” on whatever the subject.
Wise and perhaps more thoughtful individuals sometimes remain silent on matters of importance with the all-too-frequent statement, “I should have said something,” when their inner voices urged them to do so.
Where, when and on what subjects is speaking up or remaining silent the right and wise thing to do?
“The only way some of us exercise our minds is by jumping to conclusions.”
—Cullen Hightower, 20th Century American writer
Image from Ellen’s Little Visits
With our never-ending race to get it all done today, we have all run into a problem. Despite our brain’s magnificent power to process vast amounts of information, we are beginning to hit a barrier to open and novel thinking.
We have learned a trick in which our established mental models create shortcuts to our processing power. We skip the often useful objective and reflective capacities needed in many situations.
Where have you recently jumped to an incorrect conclusion? Where and with whom might a slower, more thoughtful and open-minded approach prove most useful, in your professional or personal life?
“Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.”
—Benjamin Disraeli, British Statesman
Image from Twitter @HighestThinking
How often do you eat junk food? How often do manufactured foods with excessive sugar, fat, or mystery ingredients find their way through your lips?
When you do, what are the results on your physical, mental, and emotional vitality and well being?
How many junk messages enter your mind from news, social media, books, or even the people with whom you associate? What impact do these factors have on your abilities to better yourself?
How can you make more efforts to ingest and digest more nurturing ideas and thoughts, to take your life higher?
How can you reduce or stop detrimental thoughts and influences that hold you back in order to make room for empowering and uplifting ideas?
“We are sitting under the tree of our thinking minds, wondering why we’re not getting any sunshine!”
—Ram Dass, American Spiritual Leader
Image from Flickr by Kat Northern Lights Man
On a hot, sunny day we all enjoy being in the shade, perhaps with a frosty beverage. It’s cooler, and just more comfortable.
Our own thinking often plays the role of a shade tree in that we are literally blocking out new, more creative or innovative input, which might enlighten us.
If, for some reason, you feel stalled, stuck or plateaued in your growth and development, take a hard look at how often and how much you are sitting under your limited thinking canopy.
How can you let in more bright ideas and alternative perspectives by welcoming the light of other people’s input, personally or professionally?