Your Mind and Your Life
In our previous Wisdom Note, we began a 7 week series about how you can change your life by changing how you think and what you think about. This week we will continue with Part 2.
As we continue our thoughts about thinking, we will stop by two more waypoints out of our total of twelve waypoints. At each waypoint, you will have the occasion to reflect on and change how you think. By changing your thinking, these waypoints will allow you to change your life in a positive direction. The discussions for those waypoints will be based on the perspectives and wisdom that I have gained through a life of studying wise individuals that have trekked the trails of life and provided us wisdom and insights from their journeys.
Can changing your thinking really change your life? As I have studied and observed wise and unwise people for over 35 years now, I have found there is a distinct difference between wise and successful people and unwise and unsuccessful people. It usually boils down to how they think!
To grow in wisdom each day, you should be asking yourself the difficult questions that cause you to reflect on your life so that you can expand your world. It is then you will have the ability to impact others to a greater capacity.
It’s time to break camp now and head towards the next waypoint or rest stop. As we head down the trail today, let us focus on what we learn at each stop and think creatively on how this will help us to live abundantly in all areas as we are creating a living legacy.Wise and successful people practice certain thinking habits, and in order for you to become wise and successful, you need to entrench these same thinking habits into your mind.
2. Engage in Focused Thinking
Focused thinking allows you to think clearly about a problem. This skill helps you to direct energy toward a specific objective, bring more clarity to issues, and take ideas to the next level. When engaging in focused thinking, you should select challenges or areas that are most likely to have the greatest impact.
Here are five ways that you can improve your focused thinking:
- Eliminate distractions and focus on areas that will provide the greatest impact.
- Devote time to focused thinking. Although multi-tasking is a popular word in today’s world, it is not conducive to focused thinking. New evidence has shown that we really cannot multitask and, for most people, working on multiple tasks at a time is really counterproductive.
- Keep items of focus in view. You must concentrate on things that matter. You must keep the important items of focus in front of you.
- Set milestones. When you set clear objectives, it is easy for the mind to focus.
- Question your progress. Periodically monitor whether you have made progress. Progress is the best measure of whether your focused thinking is working well.
As you gain wisdom and experience, the need to focus becomes more critical. The more you grow, the more focused you can be – and need to be.
Focus Question: “Am I dedicated to removing distractions and mental clutter so that I can concentrate with clarity on the real issue?”
3. Harness Creative Thinking
Creative thinking is an important part of how wise and successful individuals think, but we find few people possess this skill. To be a creative thinker you need to value ideas, enjoy exploring options, embrace uncertainty, celebrate the unconventional, connect what is seemingly unconnected, and do not fear failure.
Creative thinking is valuable because it results in a large number of ideas for consideration. To adopt creative thinking you need to be seeking new ideas and learning more.
Here are five ways to stimulate your creativity:
- Avoid spending too much time with “creativity killers.” Creativity killers are people who are comfortable with the status quo and do not embrace new ideas. When you have a great idea, you must not let anyone dissuade you.
- Ask the right questions. If you are going to think creatively and to challenge the status quo, it is necessary that you ask good questions.
- Develop a creative environment for yourself. Negative environments destroy great ideas, but creative environments are like greenhouses where your great ideas are cultivated. Focus on innovation and allow yourself to dream.
- Spend time with other creative people. One way to counteract a negative environment is to spend time with creative people. Creativity tends to be contagious. Spend time with those that bring out the best in you.
- Get out of “your box.” It is easy to get stuck in the same routines. One of the best ways to avoid this is for you to seek out new paradigms through travel or reading about new subjects.
Focus Question: “Am I working to break out of my “box,” exploring ideas and options, so I can experience a creative breakthrough?”
When reflecting on these two waypoints for today, we see how proper thinking provides a person with wisdom and ability. This brings to my mind when Moses was planning for the construction of the tabernacle. He needed to select people who were both focused and creative in their thinking, evident in Exodus 35:25, “All the women who were skilled in sewing and spinning prepared blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen cloth.” Also in verse 31 we see, “The Lord has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts.” The entire 35th chapter of Exodus is a very interesting read. I would highly recommend.
Think about the two questions that were asked today. Reflect on them. This is an important step in changing your thinking and changing your mind.