What Do You Think About?

image of baby looking pensiveWe tend to think about one of three things most of the time (and sex of course).

We can think about…

Things

There are some people who are really into stuff. I’ve had periods of this. I guess I felt it most strongly when I was 19 or so and I had to have a black Gibson Les Paul. I saved for two years and that was easy because I was driven.

People

I think I think about everyone that has ever meant anything to me all the time. Even if I have not seen them in 30 years. Or longer. I have just thought of someone I knew at primary school so that’s 40 years. They never leave me. I talk to some of them. I mean in my head. Not on the phone for goodness sake, I’m male.

Yet I am not really a people person. I am for the people, I just don’t need them to be talking to me all the time.

I guess people-orientation is what the social media addicts have. I’m not knocking it. Really.

Thoughts/Ideas

Some people think mostly about thoughts and ideas. Theories and models. How things work and how they should work. How they can be made better. How I can be made better by making them better.

This is me.

I got sent off in primary school whilst playing football because I kicked the ball away when the referee gave us a penalty we did not deserve because we were being hammered by the other side.

I was 11 and my parents were summoned.

The idea of fairness and justness meant so much to me that I reacted; sadly with the emotional maturity of a ten year old. My otherwise focused teammates thought I was a traitor, although that was not the word they used.

I have a huge list of this kind of stuff. The example is trivial but the point is that I started this when I was 10 – it’s what I am.

We all have an orientation. A focus.

And it’s important to know what yours is.

Upset? Fight? Kill?

They say that those who think of things can get upset when their things are messed with.

They say that those who think of people can get into fights (in their many manifestations) when their people are messed up (or their people mess them up).

They say that those who think of ideas and thoughts can kill you if you mess up their thoughts and ideas, intentionally or not.

And this seems real to me.

The Fourth Way

But of course what everyone is missing is the fourth way of thinking.

Thinking about thinking.

Thinking about thinking is about getting outside of ourselves and analysing what we do, why we do it, deciding if it’s good for us and if not, thinking and doing something else.

It’s based on the notion that I have written about before that external stimulus does not define how we must react.

Extreme external stimuli can certainly make it easier for us to make decisions that are bad for us and those around us, that’s true. But external stimulus does not define what we do if we think about our thinking.

I am not going to go through the ABC model and it’s other manifestation: CBT (links below).

I constantly meet educated, intelligent, ambitious people who do not understand the importance of interrogating their own thinking for flaws that lead to bad results for them personally.

But everything we do is based on thinking and this thinking is not fixed. We can choose how to think about things and then how we react. Some people are quite vehemently opposed to this idea but it is self-evidently true…people DO think differently about things and DO different things when faced with the same situation.

Dumb and dumber…

There are two fundamentally negative consequences of not questioning our own thinking…

You make decisions that are worse for you that they could be, and

On the 1 to 10 scale where 1 is robot and 10 is enlightening human we are closer to 1 than 10.

So we might fit the biological definition of what it is to be a human but that’s about it.

If we feel so controlled by outside events we are accepting our own powerlessness and then our psyche hits the floor and along with it our life chances.

This matters.

Why not adopt thinking about thinking as an add-on to your other thinking…about, things, people or ideas.

Robot or human? It’s a sliding scale. We must slide.

You can read about the ABC model HERE
This post was inspired by a podcast from Dan Sullivan, septuagenarian coach and extremely thoughtful man. Worth checking out.

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