The Successful Yet Lost Art of Thinking

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Since the evolution of humankind it has never happened that an average person would have had access to so much information. We are often only a few clicks away from the answer to almost any and every question we may have. We don’t even have to struggle to be in any location to access information because of the furtherance of the smart-phones. And still, people know less and think even less for themselves than before. We have become intellectually indolent and simply believe what we are told rather than finding out things for ourselves.

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This reminds me of a great question put up by the fictional character, Winnie-the-pooh. Pooh once asked his dear friend piglet, “Did you ever stop to think and forgot to start again?” This is what I believe has happened to the present human race. They have stopped thinking and forgot to start again.

William Arthur Ward, once quoted that, “Nothing limits achievement like small thinking; nothing expands possibilities like unleashed thinking.” There are really no limits to what can be done and achieved by those who are willing to think. Success-oriented people are people who do not limit their thoughts to popular opinions or to the realm of what is possible but are rather willing to stand-alone and think of the impossible.

So to particularize, what does it mean to think? What must a success-minded person do to be a thinking person? I believe these questions are best answered by another question which is “What is it that thinking people do that others do not do?”I will try to answer this with some of the many actions that successful people who think engaged themselves in.

Thinkers Contemplate Upon Their Actions

Many people like to think that they are thinking for themselves when they are not rather they are basing their opinions and thought on the information that others have given them. This is not saying that all that information is wrong but it is unquestioned and unquestioned information is not only dangerous but also foolish. It is like saying, “It must be true because I saw it on the internet.”Even this article should be questioned. The reason to question is so that you think about what is being said. You process it in your own mind and you conclude that it is right or wrong and why it is right or wrong.

We blindly believe the things we are told for many reasons like we respect the person telling us and we believe they are honest and trustworthy. Other times we may believe someone just because we like them or we like how they look. Some of the most successful manipulators and deceivers of all time have been some of the best liked people. They could charm their way into people’s minds and get them to believe some of the most outrageous things. A man not thinking for himself is actually not thinking at all. When we allow others to do thinking for us, no matter how much we trust them or how intelligent they may appear, we give up the greatest of human freedom , that is the freedom to think.

Thinkers are Prolific

Thinkers are inquisitive by nature. They wonder about the “what if” questions in life. These thinkers are the creative force that drives us towards moving forward. Words like quiet, give-up, can’t be done and too much work are not in their vocabulary.

They know that they will never get anywhere in life if they surrender to common opinion and follow the same old thinking. Albert Einstein has said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Have you ever noticed how many times the ones who are supposed to know better and have answers for the problems we face, just reuse the same answers they came up with before? I am far from a genius and yet even I can figure this out.

Thinkers are Willing to Do the Work of Thinking

“Thinking is the hardest work, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” Thinking is not sitting around letting any thought drift in and out of your mind. Thinking is deliberate, purposeful and directed. You will find many great achievers in history who used to set aside time to think. They understood that, similar to how success-minded people do – “that thinking is a focused activity.”

The work of thinking takes in with it a lot of planning or strategy. Every successful battle ever fought was won, not just by might but also by a lot of strategic thinking. Every great invention that has blessed humanity came from people who took the time to plan, work and then again plan some more to achieve the desired results. Success in any area of life does not just happen. It must be caused to happen and that comes only by thinking things through and doing what it takes to make things happen

Thinkers Will Stand Alone

I believe General Gorge S. Patton was right when he said, “If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking.” We should not think alike nor were we created to think alike. Successful people fight this evil and refuse to be just like everyone else. They know that there are those who will achieve more than others. There are those who will win and succeed. When you allow popular opinion and current trends to control your thinking you are not willing to take the risks of standing alone. Success-minded people who are willing to think on their own know that sometimes it means you must stand alone. Just because the majority may think a certain way does not allow the thinker to do the same.

So to summarize, I would only say that If there was one thing that was in my power to give to every person, it would definitely be the gift of curiosity, for curiosity did not kill the cat rather curiosity can create a cat. For those who possess a curious mind there are no limits to what they can achieve. Curiosity is not dependent on education, faith, money, position, class, family or any other factor. If you are in the human race you have the ability to be curious and that ability can catapult you to wonders untold. Since no one can take the ability to think from you, no one can give it to you either. So as a promising generation we must all try to build it in our self because “The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.”-John Locke

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