Are you a good thinker? Or are you plagued by cluttered thinking and vague paradigms?
I love to think and I spend a good portion of my early morning just thinking, praying, prioritizing and planning. I have discovered in working with thousands of people throughout the country and overseas, very few really think in advance about their day or even plan any portion of it.
Once you develop the habit, good thinking actually becomes enjoyable and you begin to look forward to it every morning. If you have a hard time starting your day with this exercise, here are some quick ideas to get you in the habit.
1. Become a good reader. If you have never been a consistent reader, try starting with purchasing some books that are about a subject that interests you. I read business books on time management and organizing, and inspirational books by biblical thinkers on marriage, money, relationships, healing emotions, and discovering your purpose in life. Those particular subjects fascinate me and I have read probably 30-40 books on each of these subjects. And now, with resources like Audible, you can download books and listen to them at home as you eat breakfast, in your car on the way to work, or on your lunch break. Also, check out your library for digital books, both print and audio.
2. Listen to great speakers. They will motivate you like no one else. Again, pick a subject that you want to learn about. Here’s a great place to start: TED. TED offers “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.” You can listen on your computer or through a smart phone app.
3. Hang out with thinkers. My associate in VA inspires me literally every time we talk, which is about twice a week. He is smarter than me, quicker than me, brighter than me, and I learn much from our encounter. I have a friend here in CO who is my camping friend and as we are hiking the mountains of CO, we are constantly brainstorming about life. Learning can be fun!
4. Think good thoughts. Great thinkers don’t waste their time with thinking in the mud. All they see are the stars. Negative thinking breeds negative speaking and negative behaviors. A particularly damaging offspring of negative thinking is procrastination. Even your friendly organizer struggles with negative thinking. At times, everyone does. To counter the constant barrage of negativity that assaults us from the media, news outlets and politics, spend part of everyday turning your thoughts to sources and topics that inspire and motivate.
5. Follow your thinking with actions. John Maxwell says in his book Failing Forward that you act your way into feeling long before you can feel your way into action. When I get an idea, I usually act on it. That is how I started With Time To Spare. Someone said I was organized, I read the only book on the market at that time and knew that I could do it. So I did.
6. Find a safe place to ponder, reflect, write, and think out your thoughts. I sit every morning at my big picture window looking out on the beautiful Colorado landscape. Behind me looms Pikes Peak. You may not have the Rocky Mountains in your back yard, but you can create a haven of rest where you can pray and produce rich, life-changing, strategic thinking.
If you will start with just these few ideas, you will come up with some exciting answers to some of your current problems, all because you just paused and did some thinking for a change.