Thinking is a skill

Thinking is a skill. We all obviously do it. Sometimes we feel like we suck at it, sometimes we wish others would do more of it, but it’s a skill we all possess in varying capacities. What many people don’t realise though, is that there’s lots of different types of thinking, and there’s a time and a time and a place for all of them.

Think of it this way. If the only exercises you ever do are bicep curls, you can’t expect the rest of your body to end up in good shape. There’s a number of core muscle groups in the body, and they all need to be worked in different ways if we’re after well rounded physical performance.

In the same way, we can’t just exercise one type of thinking. Our thinking habits are like water. The longer they’re allowed to run along a single path, the deeper the path will become. This is how a tiny trickle can gradually become a huge ravine, and it’s also how we end up stuck and inflexible in our thinking.

Edward De Bono’s framework of the Six Thinking Hats is worth taking the time to get familiar with. I can personally recommend his book Teach Your Child How to Think—whether you have kids or not, it’s a great primer in thinking differently about your thinking.

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