Thursday, April 25, 2013
Critical Thinking or Stinking Thinking
The choice is ours. We may engage in either form of thinking. Although the latter is often more a reaction generated by emotions and execrable world-view than genuine cognitive reflection.
Excerpts from Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life By Linda Elder and Richard Paul
"The mind is its own place and in itself can make a hell of heaven or a heaven of hell" —Milton, Paradise Lost
You are what you think. Whatever you are doing, whatever you feel, whatever you want—all are determined by the quality of your thinking. If you’re thinking is unrealistic, you’re thinking will lead to many disappointments. If you’re thinking is overly pessimistic, it will deny you due recognition of the many things in which you should properly rejoice.
In a similar way, if the quality of your life is not what you wish it to be, it is probably because it is tied to the way you think about your life. If you think about it positively, you will feel positive about it. If you think about it negatively, you will feel negative about it.
For most people, most of their thinking is subconscious; that is, never explicitly put into words. For example, most people who think negatively would not say of themselves, “I have chosen to think about myself and my experience in largely negative terms. I prefer to be as unhappy as I can be.”
The truth is that since few people realize the powerful role that thinking plays in their lives, few gain significant command of their thinking. And therefore, most people are in many ways “victims” of their own thinking, harmed rather than helped by it. Most people are their own worst enemy. Their thinking is a continual source of problems, preventing them from recognizing opportunities, keeping them from exerting energy where it will do the most good, poisoning relationships, and leading them down blind alleys.
A Complex World of Accelerating Change—Can we deal with incessant and accelerating change and complexity without revolutionizing our thinking? Traditionally, our thinking has been designed for routine, for habit, for automation and fixed procedure. We learned how to do our job, and then we used what we learned over and over. But the problems we now face, and will increasingly face, require a radically different form of thinking, thinking that is more complex, more adaptable, and more sensitive to divergent points of view. The world in which we now live requires that we continually relearn, that we routinely rethink our decisions, and that we regularly reevaluate the way we work and live. In short, there is a new world facing us, one in which the power of the mind to command itself, to regularly engage in self-analysis, will increasingly determine the quality of our work, the quality of our lives, and perhaps even, our very survival.
“Do not eat the bread of a miser, Nor desire his delicacies; For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. "Eat and drink!" he says to you, But his heart is not with you. The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, And waste your pleasant words” (Proverbs 23:6 NKJ).
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2 NIV).
In the Psalms, many psalms written by King David have portions ending with the word Selah which basically means pause and consider this. We would be wise to have those selah moments applied to our thinking processes.