Monday, January 05, 2009

Four Aspects to Make Thinking a Usable Skill

(This mind map image represents the 25 thinking skills for thinkers. Click for bigger view.)

I usually go through some stage of a deliberate thinking pause. I guess you can partly see that reflected in this blog where posting was less than my usual or themes get observed depending on what I am learning.

It was usually a time of unlearning and learning new things concurrently.

Whenever I need to get this done, I would turn to Edward De Bono's Thinking Course. He said that to develop thinking as a skill, it should be:
  1. Deliberate
    This is being in control of one's thinking and be able to use it at will.
  2. Focused
    Untrained thinking is usually point-to-point, idea-to-idea. To be focused is the hardest to achieve as the mind loves to wander to interesting alleys that open up. Focus in thinking can be as tight as you want to any object or question at hand.
  3. Confident
    One does not have to prove being right or wrong. It is an operational skill, not an ego-achievement. A confident thinker must be willing to listen to others, acquire new ideas, look at things differently, think about something, and even acknowledge that an answer has not been found.
  4. Enjoyable
    Thinking must be done as often as possible. Be open to think about different things: having ideas, working them out, engage in thinking-type discussion. Unfortunately, there's not too many opportunities to foster the framework with like-minded people. I tried creating the suggested "thinking club" but I realized there's too few who has read the book at the moment.
De Bono also emphasized the importance of the self-image "I am a thinker". It is an operational image where you can try to think about things, enjoy it. This includes appreciating the time constraint (whether that is 30 seconds or 5 minutes) that brings thinking energy to focus and harvest the lessons learned from the discussion.

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