How to Think
By Duane Hewitt
We’re expected to do it all our lives. From our earliest time of learning to our later years it is engrained in us that this is something we must always do. Doing it well can be extremely beneficial to us. Doing it poorly can create setbacks and problems galore. And yet, how often throughout our school years are we actually taught how to do this one, presumably natural function that can do so much to further us as well as benefit the world around us? How to think: Yes, thinking. How exactly does one think? What are the ways and methods of thinking?
One fundamental key to how to think is learning to stand outside of self. Analyze (that is, critically observe) how you, right now, are thinking about a particular situation or problem. Next, instruct the thinker, you, on what ways you would do well to better approach a particular problem.
The Internet offers numerous methods of how to think. Just Google ‘Instructions on How to Think’ and some of the following steps and techniques will come up:
- Understand and develop different types of thinking
- Challenge any existing assumptions you may have
- Develop critical thinking skills
- Develop creative thinking skills
- Practice methods of brainstorming
- Learn! – And don’t stop learning or acquiring facts and info
- Acquire and develop a broad spectrum of thinking fundamentals
Imagine you are standing at the front of a classroom at a blackboard. Now, open up your inner classroom so that there are 30 other students there with you, all there to approach the problem of how to think. These other students are actually extensions of you, and you will now begin to have those other ‘thinkers’ throw ideas, concepts, and solutions at you on how to approach your problem. This is one method of brainstorming. Some of the students holler out, “Be analytical, be logical!” Others say, “Get more facts and information about the problem! Start researching!” Someone then suggests, “Let’s think ‘outside the box’ and see what unconventional solutions we can come up with.” This is then followed by, “let’s be intuitive,” followed by someone saying, “This requires creative thinking, so let’s get some creative ideas flowing!”
Make notes of ideas concerning your problem. It might actually feel like your mind is expanding. Somewhere in all this, you are likely to explore your inner library of thoughts, ideas and resources. And that inner library and inner mechanism of better thinking will improve as you practice thinking and how to think.
And in so doing, let your brain monitor your brain. You will get better at it because the brain does what it is trained and practiced to do… in this case, to think and to be a better thinker!
And one other suggestion, see if you can employ any of the five senses: Is there something about this problem that can better be solved through the use of sight, sound, touch, smell, or taste? It may introduce some interesting perspectives in our quest to be better thinkers.
Certainly, the methods and potential of improved thinking offer much for thought.
Copyright 2020 Duane Hewitt