Our way of thinking has a huge impact on our lives. All our actions are the consequence of our thoughts: in order to change our behavior, we must change our ideas. The philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “we become what we think most often”.
If it is impossible to control consciously and at every moment the thoughts that cross our mind, we have the power to decide which ones we wish to nurture and foster. The key is in this decision: with practice, we can better decide our thoughts and therefore think better.
Darius Foroux’s book “Thinking Right” presents the best strategies the author has adopted to make his brain a powerful and powerful tool. We believe that the decisions we make are based on logic, but very often this is not the case: even though we like to think that we are rational beings, our choices are influenced by an enormous amount of emotional and cognitive biases.
The good news is that, just like a muscle, it is possible to train our brain to think better. In particular, by favoring concentration on “useful” thoughts in relation to “useless” thoughts.
It is quite possible to move from a situation where we maintain a series of useless thoughts: worry, stress, suffering, confusion, not knowing what to do (it must speak to many people!) To a much more peaceful situation: A clear thought with a unique and useful purpose.
The author draws on the philosophical current of pragmatism, according to which each thought should serve a useful purpose. If she does not, she is useless.
Think with pragmatism
Our brain is exposed to much more information than it is able to process. To continue to work properly, it is therefore obliged to filter a very large part. It is from this need to filter input information that we develop shortcuts, which alleviate the cognitive load of decision-making.
Examples of shortcuts that everyone uses, even if they are not very effective, are:
- the “trial and error” approach, where we learn through the tests and mistakes we make
- “social proof”, that we make decisions about what we see around us, based on what others say or do
- “familiarity”, which encourages us to repeat the actions we are used to doing, even if the results are not there.
Pragmatism invites us to favor a method of thinking focused on the results: what works is true.
If during a decision you regularly ask the question: “Will the result of this choice change my way of life? You’ll learn how to automatically filter out what’s unnecessary, and focus only on what’s really impacting your life.
Stop worrying and stress:
Our brain is constantly traversed by thoughts. Without training, without conscious effort on our part, we risk spending 99% of our time on useless thoughts, which lead to no result: what happens if I am wrong? what will others think of me? I do not want to be alone.
Even if we call these questions “think”, it’s more about worrying and stressing.
All these negative thoughts are useless, but how do you get rid of them?
The first step is to become aware of our thoughts, to recognize them. This awareness then makes it possible to decide which ones you want to ignore, and to which you want to give importance.
Promote useful thoughts
To favor “useful” thoughts, we can focus only on the things we can control, directly or indirectly. That eliminates at once 99% of the potential thoughts since finally there are many things of our lives outside our control.
Typical examples of useless thoughts are thinking about our past with regret (we can not go back), fantasizing about our future, or worrying about what others think about us.
Here are two types of useful thoughts:
- Think about how to solve problems: a problem is just an unanswered question. Focus on your brain to find an answer to this question.
- Understand knowledge: try to internalize the knowledge you have acquired, how can you use it to improve your life, your work, your relationships?
If you focus on these two types of thoughts, you can let go of everything else: you start taking control of your brain.
When making a decision, be careful to base yourself on facts, not assumptions. The facts reflect research, statistics, experiments. Assumptions reflect opinions, beliefs, conjectures.
Be wary of your first reaction to a decision: although we often think that she is the most honest, she is, in fact, the unconscious reflex of our past experiences, and may not be adapted to a new situation.
To avoid using old remedies for new problems, it is essential to give yourself some time to think. Sometimes, just give yourself an extra day to find good solutions.
Be careful though: the “best” decision does not exist. Do not wait forever for the perfect decision that will never occur. You can only aspire to make informed decisions, that’s all.
Let go and relax. Give yourself also moments in which you stop thinking: they are just as important as the moments of reflection. To let your mind escape is to know how to control it.
Training your brain is not a linear process. This is done in stages, and sometimes you have to face a wall before you can move on to the next phase. At the beginning of a new phase, it is easy to move forward and learn new things. Here, no problem.
But the closer you get to the end, the more difficult it becomes. Resist the temptation to give up when you find yourself facing a wall. Rather, be happy: you are close to a significant breakthrough.
Take a break, rest your brain, and then come back to your decision. Use the new energy to overcome the wall in front of you.
Keep a daily diary
An excellent way to take the time to think is to keep a daily diary. Here are some benefits related to this habit:
- Discover your mistakes in order to avoid them in the future.
- Evaluate progress by reading past achievements.
- Clarify your ideas and better understand your intentions in order to make better decisions.
Learning to think better only makes sense if it helps us act better. Better thoughts need to bring about better actions. And the most effective way to act is to create habits. Set some simple rules for your behavior: exercise 30 minutes a day, do not eat junk food, sleep 7 or 8 hours a night.
Once you combine a few rules, you have a system that allows you to act without having to think about it all the time. You only need to focus on the results: if you do not get what you want, adapt the system.
Here are some thoughtful ideas that can make it easier for you to get things done: make your life better, boost your career and your business, visualize your future, develop new ideas, solve problems, find fun things to do with couple or friends.
Stop wasting time on unnecessary things like complaining or not enjoying your life. With daily practice, you will find it easier to focus on positive thoughts and enjoy the little things in life.
At the base of the philosophy of pragmatism is a reflection that looks very unpractical: “The best way to live life is to spend it on something that exceeds it.”
To work for something that lives longer than we do not have practical reasons since we will not be there to see it anyway.
But this is not the subject: if every day we live with the desire to strive to create things that matter to others, we end up devoting our time to things that really make the difference.
When you do that, life automatically makes sense for everyone.
Do you often have unnecessary thoughts?
What strategies do you adopt to think better?
Some ideas from the book THINK STRAIGHT: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. BY Darius Foroux.
Author link : https://dariusforoux.com/think-straight/
THIS BOOK IS RATED 3.83 (in Goodreads Author).