Thinking is a skill that we take for granted. Going through our day we make many decisions. Faced with new issues, problems or obstacles we always have a solution. In conversations with friends, they always seem to know more than we do. Their answers are quick as to what we should do next. As the day ends, we prepare to sleep so that we are ready to do this all over again.
Only in my mid 50s did I finally begin to realize that there are many ways to think about things. From first trying to decide is something important or not to what is missing. This awakening then led me to seek out those who were more successful than I was. For sadly, my thinking led me to so many mediocre outcomes. Not disastrous……but not very intentional or impactful in changing the outcomes of my life.
To my surprise, their approach to so many things began with framing how they looked at the question I asked. Never giving an immediate answer but rather laying out the nuances that made my simple question much more multi-dimensional. Exposing so many things never considered. Placing importance on things that I thought were trivial. Making important things built up in my mind and putting them in their rightful place – much lower in importance.
All of this groundwork covered first before suggesting possible solutions or approaches. Most times, ones that I did not know existed. They spoke with such clarity. There was a crispness to their thinking displayed in the level of detail they knew well. Changing my confusion into curiosity. Slowing me down to become aware of how little I really know.
The generosity of their time transformed me into a student of how to frame something before jumping at an answer. Their clarity inspired me to dig deeper to better understand the building blocks beneath what I think I see before I act. With the hope, but not a promise, of improvement over time.
How should I think about this should be our first question when confronted with something new. Pushing aside our emotions and ego to put in the work to see things more clearly for what they are before hoping for what they can be.
For the most dangerous stories we tell, are the ones we tell ourselves. Full of our emotion and ego. With detail and nuance supressed so the ending we come to is the only one that can be true. Stealing our ability to influence our lives in a positive way.
How should I think about this is a way to stop our stories before they consume us and lead us astray. If only I knew this earlier in my life.