Friday, January 23, 2015
Improving Good Thinking
In this early part of the New Year improving our thinking is one way to keep growing on our Living More Than OK journey. The quality of our thinking aids in our enjoyment of life and personal successes. Richard Paul and Linda Elders in their book Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life state this of the need for sound thinking: “There is nothing more practical than sound thinking. No matter what your circumstance or goals, no matter where you are, or what problems you face, you are better off if your thinking is skilled. …in every realm and situation of your life, good thinking pays off. Poor Thinking, in turn, inevitably causes problems, wastes time and energy, engenders frustration and pain.” (page 7)
If we look at the problems and difficulties of our lives and are honest we can see where most our negativity can be traced back to faulty thinking. In the Living More Than OK life we want to live more of our time spiraling up to abundant living instead of spiraling down into stagnation and problems. Each of us can find room to improve in our thought lives.
Improving our thinking begins with a choice to continually learn and improve our minds. We need to take time to make time to do things to improve our thinking. Take mental growth breaks during the day or on the weekend. Paul & Elders in the aforementioned book reveal that critical thinkers need to work on building intellectual habits and traits into their thought lives. The traits they mention are: “Intellectual integrity, Intellectual humility, Intellectual sense of justice, Intellectual perseverance, Intellectual fair-mindedness, Intellectual confidence in reason, Intellectual courage, Intellectual empathy, Intellectual autonomy.” (page 19) Look over those terms and first reflect over which areas are you already strong in and which areas do you need to grow in at present time.
How can we grow in these areas? Probably no surprise to you my first response is to tell you to go to your local library and select a book on Critical Thinking. I highly recommend any of the writings by Richard Paul and Linda Elders. Their writings are sound and also practical. There are other good writers on critical thinking but those two are my favorites. My book, Living More Than OK, has one chapter on the need for critical thinking. So this Bookhead is telling you books are one of the best ways to grow your mind and thought life. For reading material you can also go to www.criticalthinking.org and click on their Library tab and read various articles about critical thinking.
Beyond reading you can also search on YouTube or Ted talks for video lectures on thinking and critical thinking. Here is an example of a short video of Richard Paul on thinking from YouTube -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNCOOUK-bMQ . You may also want to look into Continuing education courses at local universities and colleges. Find an area of mental curiosity or interest to you personally, and take a course in that subject.
Growing in improved good thinking will add value to your life. The process may lessen the number or intensity of problems that you may be facing. By growing our thinking it helps keep the mind open to possibilities and new solutions to adversity and new areas of growth. Give improving your thinking a try in this New Year.
Reflection: Go to the Library link of the critical thinking website http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/index-of-articles/1021/ and read one article of your choosing. Take time to reflect over the message of the article you chose.