A famous saying tells us that the pen is mightier than the sword. People who are good at thinking, usually achieve more than those who rely on physical strength. Brain can usually beat brawn in most of life’s activities. Thinking of any sort is hard work, and a result clear thinking is something few people accomplish. Few people practice or train themselves to think clearly.
The start of clear thinking is to
have something to think about. You need a good mental stock of information and
experience. Equally important is to know exactly what result your thinking is
designed to achieve.
Facts provide the
raw material for the thinking process. When facts are put through your
mental factory the output is ideas.
Facts are like a roll of cloth from which
the tailor cuts a suit. His skill with the shears resembles your
thinking process. He must know first the exact measurements of the garments he
wants to make before he can cut the right shaped pieces out of the cloth. So
you must know your objective before you can fashion the ideas you need by
thinking about the facts.
A clear goal is the starting points
of clear thinking. Knowing just what you want helps you to select the most
useful and relevant of your experiences and knowledge. It guides you in
deciding what further information or experience you need to acquire.
Various ways are open to you to widen
your experience. You can learn more by carefully chosen reading. You can tackle
jobs you have never done before. You can meet more people by joining clubs and
taking up fresh hobbies or leisure – time activities. You can get to know new
places by traveling and exploring. Let yourself become as emotionally involved
as possible. Avoid being a mere detached onlooker. Enthusiasm stimulates your
mind to fertile, swift, clear thinking.
When you have a problem to solve, the
beginning of clear thought is to define exactly what the problem is. Suppose
you have a flat bicycle tyre. Your
knowledge and experience of bicycle tells you there are three possible causes.
May be the tyre just wants pumping up, or it may have a faulty valve, or a puncture. So you try pumping it up, then if
necessary, you test the valve, and finally you search for and mend the
puncture. Thus your real problem is to find the fault that lies behind the flat
tyre. What you have to deal with is not the flatness but which of the three
causes is to blame.
In this instance the situation is so
simple that can anyone can see the truth, but cases occur where we try to work
out solutions to our immediate problems without looking beyond them to find the
real difficulty that needs attention. We deal with symptoms instead of with
The Inspired Answer:
Another mistake is accepting the
first solution that comes to mind. Usually the early answer takes you only part
of the way. Beyond it lies another more remote and more fundamental solution
that needs insight. That is the inspired answer the clear thinker is seeking.
When the motorcar was invented, it was thought of as a horseless carriage and that term was applied to it. Hence the design of the body followed that of the familiar gig or trap. As time went by designers realized that the car had an essential nature of its own and consequently designs developed into the distinctive styles we know today. The copying of the traditional horse – drawn vehicle was an easy, first solution. It needed clear thinking based on experience to reveal gradually the truly individual nature of the motor car. Seek a solution unfettered by the ways of the past. The clear thinker’s answers, like the work of a truly original artist, reveal something about the future. They are not just reflections or perpetuation’s of what has gone before, dressed up in a new guise.