Clear, precise thinking is a life skill that you must master if you want to be the success that you desire to be. Fuzzy logic may be great for writing computer programs, but it sure gets people into a world of trouble.
Raymond Holliwell put it well in his book “Working With the Law” when he said:
“The practice of clear thinking tends to clarify the mind, tones up the faculties, sharpens the perceptions, and gives one a stronger and better grasp of the basic essentials for a larger and richer life. Clear and exact thinking is a very great necessity.”
If you want to solve a problem, you must state the problem precisely. If you want to answer a question, you must state the question precisely. If you want to achieve a goal, you must state the goal precisely.
It’s just like a road map. If you want to get to a destination, you must state the address precisely, right down to the street number. Anything less and you won’t get to where you want to go.
The more precisely you think, the more focused you’ll become. You’ll solve problems more quickly because you’ll drill down to the root cause and solve the ‘real’ problem instead of chasing after symptoms, like most people do.
You’ll achieve your goals faster because you’ll know exactly what you want and won’t allow yourself to get detoured on meaningless diversions.
And you’ll be happier because you’ll know exactly who you are and where you are going.
Thinking precisely isn’t hard, but it does take some work and practice.
Here is your Cerebral Advantage Action Plan to get you thinking more precisely.
Step 1: When being introduced to someone, make it a point to remember their name and to use it in subsequent conversations with them. This is hard for many people, but is very important. Train yourself to do it. People will notice and it will help you make a good first impression, which is always a good thing.
Step 2: Train yourself to remember the details of things that interest you. The names and authors of your favorite books. The names of you favorite movies and the lead actors in each. The stats of your favorite athletes. You want to be an authority on these things.
Step 3: Learn the names of people and places in news items that interest you. Make it a point to be well informed with all of the specifics.
Step 4: Take inventory of your core beliefs and values. Drill down and make sure you know exactly what you believe and why you believe it. This is absolutely crucial for each and every one of us. We must know exactly why we believe what we believe and we must be able to successfully debate and defend these beliefs and values with anyone.
Step 5: Do the same with all strong opinions you hold. Know exactly why you hold those opinions and have the facts and figures to back them up.
Step 6: When reading a book or article, identify one or two key ideas to take away and commit them to memory. This is the method Michael Masterson, a highly successful entrepreneur, has developed for learning from his reading and it has worked extremely well for him.
Step 7: Learn the names of the streets in your neighborhood. Be able to give precise directions, complete with street names.
Step 8: Learn the names of the spouses and children of your coworkers. This will help build stronger relationships, as well as sharpen your thinking.
Step 9: Learn the birthdays of your friends and coworkers and make it a point to brighten up their special day each year.
Step 10: Improve your vocabulary. Learn at least one new word each week. Not five dollar words to impress people. Instead, words that increase focus, clarity, and conciseness. Words are powerful and having the right words to express your thoughts precisely will help you think more precisely.
Step 11: Continually quiz yourself on what you think you know. If your response is fuzzy, sharpen it up immediately. If you don’t know something, look it up on the Internet. With Google always at your immediate beck and call, there is no excuse for not knowing the facts.
Step 12: Learn to think directionally. Instead of saying “on the right side of the road” say “on the south side of the road.” Instead of “at the far end of the building” say “in the north-east corner of the building.” Successful people seem to have a 30,000-foot view map visible to them in their mind to guide them, not only when traveling but also as they go through life. They know exactly where they are, where they are going, and how to get there. As you travel, pay attention to the direction you are going in and try to visualize a map of the area in your mind. Visualize the orientation of other roads and the location of stores, businesses, and other landmarks. This promotes the ability to always see the “big picture” and to navigate around obstacles to reach your goals. Visualizing your life as a journey on a map with your dreams and goals as destinations is powerful. Developing this ability will allow you to always know where you are and where you are going and will keep you from getting off track.
Once you master the life skill of precise thinking, you’ll be amazed at how much more efficient and effective your thinking will be. This will also make you more perceptive and a better listener. And you’ll be more confident because you will be able to speak authoritatively on a wide range of subjects.
To your success… Think right, live well.
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