And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 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 Philippians 4:8
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind 2 Tim 1:7
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth Colossians 3:1-2
Good thinkers are always in demand. A person who knows how may always have a job, but the person who knows why will always be his boss. Good thinkers rarely find themselves at the mercy of ruthless people who would take advantage of them or try to deceive them. Good thinkers are all alike in one way: how they think!
Why you should change your thinking
Good thinking can do many things for you: generate revenue, solve problems, and create opportunities. It can take you to a whole new level-personally and professionally. It really can change your life. Consider these points:
1) Changed Thinking Is Not Automatic
Sadly, a change in thinking doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to find a good idea, you must search for it. If you want to become a better thinker, you need to work at it-and once you begin to become a better thinker, the good ideas keep coming. In fact, the amount of good thinking you can do at any time depends primarily on the amount of good thinking you are already doing.
2) Changed Thinking Is Difficult
When you hear someone say, “Now this is just off the top of my head,” expect dandruff. The only people who believe thinking is easy are those who don’t habitually engage in it. Albert Einstein said, “Thinking is hard work; that’s why so few do it.” Because thinking is so difficult, you want to use anything you can to help you improve the process.
3) Changed Thinking Is Worth the Investment
Napoleon Hill observed, “More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has ever been taken from the earth.” When you take the time to learn how to change your thinking and become a better thinker, you are investing in yourself. Gold mines tap out. Stock markets crash. Real estate investments can go sour. But a human mind with the ability to think well is like a diamond mine that never runs out. It’s priceless.
How To Become A Better Thinker
To master the process of thinking and become better at thinking tomorrow than you are today, you need to engage in an ongoing process that improves your thinking. You should do the following:
1) Expose yourself to good input
Good thinkers always prime the pump of ideas. They always look for things to get the thinking process started, because what you put in always impacts what comes out. Read books, review trade magazines, listen to tapes, and spend time with good thinkers. And when something intrigues you-whether it’s someone else’s idea or the seed of an idea that you’ve come up with yourself- keep it in front of you. Put in writing and keep it somewhere in your favorite thinking place to stimulate your thinking.
2) Expose Yourself to Good Thinkers
Spend time with the right people. The people you seek out and choose to spend time with challenge you with their thinking and their actions. They are constantly trying to grow and learn. The writer of Proverbs observed that sharp people sharpen one another, just as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). If you want to be a sharp thinker, be around sharp people.
3) Choose to Think Good Thoughts
To become a good thinker, you must become intentional about the thinking process. Regularly put yourself in the right place to think, shape, stretch, and land your thoughts. Make it a priority. Remember, thinking is a discipline. Dan Cathy, president of a fast food chain in Atlanta says he has what he calls a “thinking schedule.” He says he sets aside time to just think for half a day every two weeks, for one whole day every month, and for two or three full days every year. Dan explains, “This helps me keep the main thing, the main thing, since I am so easily distracted.” You may want to do something similar, or you can develop a schedule and method of your own. No matter what you choose to do, go to your thinking place, take paper and pen, and make sure you capture your ideas in writing.
4) Act on Your Good Thoughts
Ideas have a short shelf life. You must act on them before the expiration date. World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker said it all when he remarked, “I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through-then follow through.”
5) Allow Your Emotions to Create Another Good Thought
To start the thinking process, you cannot rely on your feelings. If you wait until you feel like doing something, you will likely never accomplish it. The same is true for thinking. You cannot wait until you feel like thinking to do it. However, once you engage in the process of good thinking, you can use your emotions to feed the process and create a mental momentum. Savor the moment a good thought comes, then ride the mental energy of that success.
6) Repeat the Process
One good thought does not make a good life. The people who have one good thought and try to ride it for an entire career often end up unhappy or destitute. They are the one-hit wonders, the one-book authors, the one-message speakers, the one-time investors who spend their life struggling to protect or promote their single idea. Success comes to those who have an entire mountain of gold that they continually mine, not those who find one nugget and try to live on it for fifty years. To become someone who can mine a lot of gold, you need to keep repeating the process of good thinking.
Putting Yourself In The Right Place To Think
Becoming a good thinker isn’t overly complicated. It’s a discipline. Here are some ways to help cultivate a mind that brings good ideas:
1) Find a Place to Think Your Thoughts
If you go to your designated place to think expecting to generate good thoughts, then eventually you will come up with some. Where is the best place to think? Everybody’s different. Some people think best in the shower, at the park, in the car, on planes, in the spa, and in bed. For those nighttime bed thinkers, keep a special lighted writing pad. Find a place where you can think, and plan to capture your thoughts on paper so that you don’t lose them.
2) Find a place to shape your thoughts
Rarely do ideas come fully formed and completely worked out. Most of the time, they need to be shaped until they have substance. Many times a thought that seemed outstanding late at night looks pretty silly in the light of day. Ask questions about your ideas. Fine tune them. Do this by putting your thoughts in writing. As you shape your thoughts you find out whether an idea has potential. You learn what you have and also things about yourself. Shaping your thoughts is thrilling because of:
- Humor: The thoughts that don’t work often provide comic relief
- Humility: Connecting with God is awe-inspiring
- Excitement: It’s nice to play out an idea mentally. In a sense you will be “futuring” it.
- Creativity: In these moments you will unhampered by reality
- Fulfillment: God made you for this process; your greatest gifts flourish and that should bring you great joy
- Honesty: As you turn over an idea in your mind, you discover your true motives
- Passion: When you shape a thought, you find out what you believe and what really counts
- Change: Most of the changes you make in your life result from thorough thinking on a subject.
You can shape your thoughts almost anywhere. The place should work for you, be quiet, you can write things down, focus your attention uninterrupted and ask questions about your ideas.
3) Find a place to stretch your thoughts
If you come across upon great thoughts and spend time mentally shaping them, don’t think you’re done and can stop there. If you do, you will miss some of the most valuable aspects of the thinking process. You miss bringing others in and expanding ideas to their greatest potential. Here is kind of, a formula that can help you stretch your thoughts. It says:
The Right Thought plus the Right People in the Right Environment at the Right Time for the Right Reason=the Right Result
This combination is hard to beat. Like every person, every thought has the potential to become something great. When you find a place to stretch your thoughts, you find that potential.
4) Find a Place To Land Your Thoughts
Author C. D Jackson observes that, “great ideas need landing gear as well as wings.” Any idea that remains only an idea doesn’t make a great impact. The real power of an idea comes when it goes from abstraction to application. As you plan for the application phase of the thinking process, land your ideas first with…
- Yourself: Landing an idea with yourself will give you integrity. People will buy into an idea only after they buy into the leader who communicates it. Ask yourself three questions: “Do I believe it? Do I live it? Do I believe others should live it?” If you can’t answer yes to all three questions, then you haven’t landed it.
- Key Players: No idea will fly if the influencers don’t embrace it. After all , they are the people who carry your thoughts from idea to implementation.
- Those Most Affected: Those closest to changes that occur as a result of a new idea can give you a “reality read.” And that’s important because sometimes even when you’ve diligently completed the process of creating a thought, shaping it, and stretching it with other good thinkers, you can still miss the mark.
5) Find a Place To Fly Your Thoughts
French philosopher Henri-Louis Bergson, asserted that a person should “think like a man of action-act like a man of thought.” What good is thinking if it has no application in real life? Thinking divorced from actions cannot be productive. Learning how to master the process of thinking well leads you to productive thinking. If you can develop the discipline of good thinking and turn it into a lifetime habit, then you will be successful and productive all your life. Once you’ve created, shaped, stretched, and landed your thoughts, then flying them can be fun and easy.
Literally this entire post is an excerpt from John C Maxwell’s book “How successful people think.” It’s actually only the introduction! I found it so useful and impacting that I thought of sharing it. If you can, write the book down in your list of “must read” books. If you don’t have one, put this one as your first. You can clearly see from the introduction that there is a lot to look forward to. I paraphrased and condensed the points to make them relevant. This post is definitely something to think about it.
So, what do you think?
Posts that go in conjunction with this one:
What is your dream, ambition, goal, aspiration?
The plan of action for your dream: writing it down!
8 reasons to have a positive attitude
7 attributes of a passionate person