Do you want to come up with more imaginative ideas? Do you stumble with complicated problems? Do you want to find new ways to confront challenges?
Of course you do. So do I.
But when is the last time you thought about how you think?
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Do you have a process for making decisions? Are you using mental models and connecting big ideas from multiple disciplines? Are you taking steps to reduce cognitive biases? Have you defined the problem and do you know what success looks like?
Just as with any skill, some of us are better at thinking than others. Why?
We're seduced into believing that brilliant thinkers are born that way. We think they magically produce brilliant ideas.
Nothing could be further from the truth. While there are likely genetic exceptions, the vast majority of the people we consider brilliant use their minds differently.
Often, these geniuses practice learnable habits of thinking that allow them to see the world differently. By doing so, they avoid much of the folly that so often ensnares others. Eliminating stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance.
I came across The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking, authored by Dr. Edward B. Burger and Dr. Michael Starbird, which presents some practical ways for us to improve our thinking.
They make a pretty bold claim in the introduction.
The five habits are:
1. Understand deeply
2. Make mistakes
3. Raise questions
4. Follow the flow of ideas
Let's explore each of these a little.
Follow the flow of ideas
If you're stuck, need a new idea, or just want to improve your thinking, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking will help you on your way.
More from Farnam Street...
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.