“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.”
― Henry Ford
What It Means To Think
The ability to think is a craft that has been too often disregarded by the majority of people today. There are so many other things that we let fill our minds rather than pure unadulterated thought, and when we do use our thoughts they are often twisted, negative vines of gossip or judgment that do no positive good to ourselves or anybody else. The good news is that it is not too late to learn to focus on the moment and allow your thoughts to lead away from the negative and toward the positive of creativity and creation.
Conformity Is A Cage of Mediocrity
From the moment I was born, it seems that people pushed me into a box of conformity. We are all cajoled and pushed to “just fit in” and not to be different because when someone is so brazen as to be different from the crowd, there is not a reward, only ridicule from peers, and teachers.
The problem with conformity is there is no originality and without original thought there can be nothing new, and with nothing new, nothing will change. It is a paradox that people strive to just fit in, when anybody who ever did anything worthwhile at all, stood out, was different, and had original thoughts. So the first thing you should do is stop being one of the crowd and start being yourself. When you see a question, don’t just look for the answer; look for the process to get the answer. Think outside of the box and don’t be afraid. Your greatness is just one thought away. Because thoughts do in fact become things.
Choose Your Thoughts Wisely
Choose your thoughts? A very good friend of mine once told me that there is no way he can choose his thoughts, because his brain just worked too darn fast to try to control. That may be true, I have no way of knowing but even my quick thinking friend can choose which thoughts he gives credence to and which ones he lets float away. Your mind is a machine that works hard all the time to allow you to understand the world. It will think many things, some are positive about things you like and supportive. Then there are the negative thoughts of gossip, anger, hatred, discrimination, greed, etc. You have a choice what to do with your thoughts, entertain them, or dismiss them completely. Which direction you choose to go in will determine much about the quality of your life and the things that you experience. So always choose your thoughts wisely, what you think will determine pleasure you experience in life.
What You Put In Your Mind Matters
There is an old saying that what you put into your mind is exactly what you will get out of it. Today we are a society of easy answers and quick fixes. There is instant entertainment available virtually everywhere now thanks to smart phones and tablets. This is all wonderful except that many people choose mindless games to play and programming to watch with little intellectual value.
Some entertainment can be great, but there are so many negative messages sent through the media and on the internet that it can become difficult to feel even the slightest bit positive about ourselves. This is because marketers figured out a long time ago, if they can make you feel bad about yourself, you will do almost anything you can to feel good. This most often involves buying whatever they are selling, to make you prettier, sexier, thinner, or more attractive.
Even the shows that should be educational, like the news, drive their programming on negative stories designed to instill fear or spread cheap gossip. If you want to be able to think then for at least a small portion of time every day read a real book. Read about a philosophy or idea that might broaden your mind. Reading is an interactive process that increases your ability to think, the more you do it the greater your ability. If you don’t believe me, put down the phone and turn of the computer or television and read for just a half an hour a day. The results will astound you. Reading is the key to the doorway of thought, be brave and open it.
Keep Your Mind Open
Once you start thinking you are going to think that you know it all, and are quite sure about how the world works. I think the most intelligent thing that anyone can do is to understand that no matter how smart they are, they do not, nor will they ever know it all. There is always something else to learn, some theory to try, some perplexing problem to solve. Every thought is a step on the path of growth, and you can’t be too surprised when today’s fact turns into a stepping stone to help you reach tomorrows truth.
Thinking is a lot like building a pyramid, you can build the top until you place all of the solid stones at the foundation, and then the next level and then the next. Keep your mind open to give credence to thoughts you haven’t considered, test them, question them and evaluate their merits. Only then can you glean the wisdom or folly of every idea you come across. A closed mind will never shed any light on the world, where an open mind may just provide an opening as bright as the sun.
Someday You May Need This
When you read this you may not pay attention right now, and that is OK You may want to just hold on to your entertainment, and you may not like to read. Maybe you don’t want to stand out from the crowd because people might talk about you. That is your choice and I respect that. At the moment in life where you have the thought, “ Is this it?” or “what is life is all about?”, then I want you to come here and read this. Those questions are the spark of all true thought and you will have a hard time finding happiness until you learn to to evaluate the messages from your mind.
“Think before you speak. Read before you think.”
― Fran Lebowitz, The Fran Lebowitz Reader