Thinking: Turning Daydreams into Strategies by Mark Sanborn

Descarte said, “I think, therefore I am.” Since we are thinking, we must certainly exist.

But it is also true: I think better and I become better.

Effective thinking is the strong foundation for everything that happens. It’s where dreams and plans begin. Thinking casts a vision and then comes up with a way to turn the vision into reality. And it can take you for good to better, better to best… and beyond.

In my new book, The Potential Principle, I explain metacognition—thinking about thinking. Thinking  is one of the four quadrants of the Potential Matrix, and I believe that when you improve your thought life you improve the rest of your life, how you perform, learn and reflect..

Thinking isn’t easy, but what truly important things are? Henry Ford said it was the hardest work there is, and that’s probably why many people don’t do it. But intentional and correct thinking offers great benefits. It’s well worth the time and effort you put into it.

There are many ways to think more effectively, creatively, and productively. Here are some ideas:

Stimulate your mind, and then capture your ideas.

Do what it takes to get your brain in gear, whether it’s a strong cup of coffee, a brisk walk outdoors, or a challenging book on an unfamiliar subject. Seek out good conversation. Expose yourself to fresh perspectives and diverse opinions, to help you look at things differently and form new connections.

Find a place that’s conducive to thinking, and go there regularly. Give your mind free rein, and let your thoughts flow.

When ideas come, jot them down. Don’t try to evaluate them right away. That stifles imagination. Write down whatever comes to mind, or make a note on your cell phone, so you’ll be able to recall it later. Some of your ideas may seem great at first, but not so great later. Others that don’t seem like much initially may develop into awesome ideas over time.

Of course, thinking is about more than just coming up with ideas. Thinking also builds that path that turns abstract concepts into concrete results.

Good thinking will help you envision what you want to achieve in life and prevent you from making poor choices. Done well, thinking is a serious competitive advantage.

So find ways to stimulate your mind. Record the ideas that come to you. Then evaluate them, pick some good ones, and put them into action.