Learning to Think Carefully
Be careful with your thoughts. We’re never taught how to think carefully. It’s not an easy thing to teach and it’s even harder to understand what it means to think carefully. Reckless thinking can get you into a world of trouble and potentially turn you from a nice person into a shit one.
There’s a discipline that precedes good thinking. The ability to ‘not think’ is something very few people have if you consider how many people suffer from recurrent bouts of anxiety. Although some brands of anxiety are a result of a chemical issue within the brain, other anxieties will emerge because of prolonged and long-term negligence when it comes to your own thoughts.
The most common form of negligent thought is ‘over-thinking’. You hear people say they overthink all the time. Overthinking is careless thinking. The main tenant of overthinking is convincing oneself of another person’s intentions. Overthinking usually comes in the form of reading someone else’s mind (Can’t do it) or else attempting to predict the future (Also impossible). Not only do both of these things cause a person to worry and stress over hypothetical scenarios, it also results in wasting time that could be used to be more productive.
I reckon most of us spend the majority of our time thinking carelessly. There is no purposeful focus, or individual limits set on what can and cannot be thought about. We don’t set parameters within our thoughts, even though we spend all day, everyday thinking. To be productive in every other aspect of our lives we set up boundaries to limit wastage and improve efficiency. Take your job, for example. There are limits everywhere to maximise your efficiency. You start at a specific time, you have lunch at a certain time, and you go home at a certain time. You don’t use personal items at work. You sit in a certain place and use certain tools and equipment. You have a specific way in which you complete your work. All of these parameters ensure good and efficient work.
Disciplined thought is where you make your money. Discipline breeds creativity, innovation and individuality. To be good at anything, you must practice all the time, and keep up a good work ethic. This rings true for thinking too. To be a good thinker you must practice good thought. You must hone th ability to recognize bad and negative thought patterns so that you can spend more time thinking carefully.
Not only will you benefit creatively, your mental health will also improve. If you think carefully and with discipline you will be less anxious, less often. If you learn to understand why you are thinking negatively you will become less neurotic through understanding. Becoming an observer of your own thoughts results in taking the self out of what is going on in your mind. When this happens, the actions of other people no longer feel personal or deliberate. And you can begin to understand that most of negative feelings you experience are a result of how you reacted and thought rather than as a result of what actually happened.