One of the most tasking, yet valuable skills, is the ability to think clearly. The skill is self-taught as no school will teach you its methodologies. People who learn how to think clearly maximize the benefits, while those who fail to do so pay for the consequences.
With unclear thinking, you will spend most of your time trying to correct mistakes. If you want to make informed and smart decisions, you need to learn how to think clearly.
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How Do You Learn to Think?
This question applies to different concepts. It could mean how to think intuitively and critically, how to resolve an issue, how to make smart decisions, how to innovate, memorize, learn, study, discuss, or plan.
The major challenge most times is not learning how to think, but discarding irrational thoughts.
If you assess the question, ‘How do you learn to think?’ from the other side of the coin, it could also mean how to be open, how not to have prejudices or be judgmental, how to communicate effectively with others, how not to practice emotional thinking, how to avoid making assumptions or arriving at a quick conclusion, how to avoid labeling people or practice name-calling, how to see the world from a better perspective, how to be conscious of what’s going in the environment and know what the future holds.
All these begin with learning how to think. According to Descartes,
“I think. Therefore I am.”
Your thinking determines the quality of your being and your living.
So how do you learn how to think?
Start by analyzing your thoughts, identifying your thought pattern, and thinking errors. You can also discover learning tools that boost your morale about steps to take in learning new concepts. For instance, you can practice by analyzing the pros and cons of any topic. You will improve as you spend more time learning how to think.
Here’re 6 time-tested ways to learn how to think clearly:
1. Take a Deep Breath
This is the first step. Your body regains its balance when that oxygen flows through your respiratory tract to your neural network.
Your body will find calmness by taking a large breath and your brain will be enhanced to think more clearly.
2. Organize Your Thought By Listing
Anytime you discover many thoughts running through your mind, there’s a need to get organized.
It is possible to list those things in your head. That way, you will generate a list that can help you on how to think clearly.
Here’s an example:
- Do the laundry
- Wash the car
- Fix the PC
- Read the book
Organizing your thought with mental listicles will help think clearly and become smarter.
3. Assess Your Attitude
Have you ever wondered how your focus correlates with your desires?
For instance, imagine how you can brainstorm several ways and techniques to achieve your goal when you are determined to achieve it. The same approach applies to when you don’t want to attain a goal, and you focus on its negatives – why it’s a bad idea to desire such a goal.
If you’re going to achieve a clear focus and thinking, you will need to be sincere with yourself. What do you want from life? Why do you want it? This may take much of your time in the beginning, but you will realize that clarity of goals will help you learn how to think clearly.
4. Be Specific with Your Goals
It takes specificity to achieve any goal in life. The reason is you can’t think about the direction of a moving object.
As long as you keep changing your goals, you will keep mounting pressure on your brain to change its laser focus. This can only make you lose direction.
To maintain specificity, take a nap for some minutes and write those goals down as clearly as possible.
5. Leverage Your Passion for Taking Charge of Your Emotions
There’s a rationale behind this statement. As you strive to become smarter and better, your passion surmounts challenges as it becomes consumed with the pleasure that comes with actualizing the goal.
Your emotions, on the other end, can be submerged in the pool of those challenges as they feel the pain to ‘failures of losing that goal.’ You need to press on and use your passion to control your emotions to achieve clarity in your thought pattern.
6. Utilize Your Negative Thinking to Generate Positive Action
Oh yes! It’s possible. Do you know your negative thought pattern is an asset?
Negative thinking is the code that can unlock your imagination to actualize your desires.
Anytime you think ‘why not?’, then switch by thinking ‘how to?’. This approach will fire your imagination up to redirect your negative thinking in producing positive actions.
Instead of focusing on the reasons you may not progress with your career, you can stimulate your thoughts by thinking of ‘How To’ become successful in that career.
Also, delete every negativity in your mind. Negative thoughts will prevent your mind power from flowing to take the right step in the line of your goal. So, keep your head clear, especially when processing an idea.
The awareness of these six steps will help you learn how to think and become smarter. But that’s not enough! You will need first to shift your paradigms.
How to Train Your Brain to Think Differently
Based on some findings that were published in Translational Psychiatry, MRIs was used to check the changes in the brain of individuals with schizophrenia. After treating them for six months, the more neural connection was discovered between their amygdala — which coordinates emotion on the brain, and their prefrontal cortex — which oversees high order thinking. The changes had a long-lasting effect
In another study, people battling with social anxiety disordered had a decrease in brain activity and volume in their amygdalae after nine weeks of online cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT). It was also discovered that CBT helps in reconfiguring the brain in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression as well.
So what are the CBT therapeutic skills recommended? Here are three of them to help you train your mind to think in new ways.
1. Prove Yourself Wrong
Sometimes, your brain tells you lies. So when it comes to that limiting thought that you can’t complete your degree or you can’t finish reading that book, take it up as a challenge.
Stretch yourself some more after you think you have reached your tipping point. Or challenge yourself to keep reading the next page until you get to the last page.
Each time you nullify the negative prophecy, you’ll train your mind to think in a new way and see possibilities. In no time, your brain will begin to develop a new paradigm by understanding your capabilities and limitations from a different perspective.
2. Create Your Mantra
Do you think limiting thoughts? Or do you discourage yourself from attempting a challenge where you think you might fail?
You need to curate your mantra that you can utilize to talk down the negative messages. You can repeat things such as “Beat the best” or Do the impossible!”. These words will discard every form of negativity and limiting thoughts.
As you begin to speak positively, you will outgrow the negative thoughts and subsequently gain clarity in your thought pattern.
3. Reframe Your Negative Thought Pattern
Thinking things such as “I’m such an idiot,” or “this will never become successful” is not helpful. Every negative prophecy becomes self-fulfilling if there is no positive action taken to negate it. You cannot take a giant step with belittling thought.
Here’s the good news:
You can negate the negative thoughts with a true statement. When you think, “I’m not going to amount to anything in life,” speak to that thought,” if I keep trying, I will be what I want to be.’
When you think,” This is going to end in tears,” look at yourself in the mirror and say, it will turn out a success. Establish a more realistic statement by reframing your mindset. The more you do this, the more you become smarter.
The Bottom Line
Since every new skill requires constant practice, pay the sacrifice by putting these steps to work.
The more you practice clear thinking, the more you will build your mental muscle. Also, your brain will undergo changes that will positively impact you.
More Tips on Thinking Smarter
- How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques
- How to Think Positive Thoughts When Feeling Negative
- How to Train Your Brain to Think Fast and Think Smart
Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com
|||^||Science Daily: Brain volume changes after cognitive behavioral therapy|