Harnessing our Thoughts, Productive People Style
April 15, 2019
Thinking is an active process that can lead to passive thoughts that are really frozen language. Thoughts are frozen when we do not act on them. This can be the case for both good and bad thoughts. Since this Blog is about harnessing our thinking skills in a positive way, I will allow the negatives to remain frozen. As Paul the biblical apostle tells us, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Phillippians 4:8 New Living Translation). In this article, I will take a similar route in discussing how we can harness our thinking by examining definitions of thinking,the three components of thinking – cognitive operations, knowledge, and despositions.
The following definitions of thinking have been highlighted by Miles Therese Granada (SlideShare, 2015).
- Thinking is the activity of human reason as a process of strengthening, the relationship between stimulus and response.
- Thinking is reasonable working of various views with the knowledge that has been stored in the mind long before the emergencd of new knowledge.
- Thinking can be interpreted to remember something, and question whether their is a relationship between the two.
As you reflect on those definitions, you will see that reason, content, memory, and association are key elements of thinking. To think, we must be able to reason based on content that we remember from specific contexts. Our thinking is therefore a very concrete activity.
Cognitive operations involve the performance of some composite cognitive activity such as decision making, problem solving, and making sense, using, working, and thinking with information, or content. That is our ability to reason.
Without knowledge thinking is impossible. Knowledge includes knowledge of language, events, people, places, and things. Such knowledge is called content. Content gets us from point A to point B. Memory plays an important role in our use of content.
As humans, we consciously or unconsciously engage in habit formation. The habits of mind that we develop lead to certain despositions. For the outcome of thinking to be positive, we need to examine our despositions or tendencies. We must have a drive towards competence that allows us to want to continuously learn, anticipate and adjust, and recommend action. The associations we make through positive interactions will help us to develop those dispositions.
Successful thinkers understand the nature of thinking that leads to understanding. Understanding is formed through three stages. They are as follows:
- Analysis of the characteristics of similar objects which we examine individually.
- Comparison of features and traits; for example, which is similar or different, which is always there and which does not always exist, and which is essential and which is not.
- Abstraction which is to set aside, dispose traits that are not essential, and capturing the essential characteristics.
How good are you at accomplishing the tasks outlined above? My next Blog, Where the Power Lies, will provide answers.