How to Think Smart

How to think smartRecently I read a Tweet post which was something like “The mobile phones are becoming smarter and humans more dumb”. This set me on the job of trying to find the answer in today’s context about:

  • How to think smart
  • How to think smarter and better
  • How to think fast and better
  • How to make your brain smarter
  • How to think smart and creatively

My analytic study and research threw up quite a few useful points and tips besides some interesting observations about human behavior.

Why is smart thinking so important?

We live in an age where information about anything is easily available and that too in plenty. This is both good as well as bad. While it is good to have all the information, the excess of information can make the brain process too much information resulting into wastage of time and efforts. The person may either get confused or get tired with the decision making exercise. It may lead to the habit of shirking decision making.

The other side of the coin is that right decision will get you what you want. Correct and timely decision can take you where you want to go.

To take use the information to our advantage is the key advantage of smart thinking and decision making.

Do smart thinkers have different thinking capabilities?

Generally smart, intelligent and creative people have no particularly different mind or body compared to similar set of people. No two smart thinkers have to have common set of habits of character traits. While one could be a solo worker the other could be a great social person, one may be a great communicator the other could be a shy and introvert personality.

So what is common between them?

This is what would be of interest to us as there would be many take away. They all have an incredible style to concentrate with high intensity on the subject matter they are passionate about.

The process of how to think smart

1. Pick one subject at a time

It does not matter the issue is big or small.

2.  Get specific information

While keeping the subject matter before you, try to answer questions: Who, What, Where and When

3.  Dig Deeper

Now ask and find answer to 2 questions: Why and How. Don’t stop till you have complete picture before you. It is important that you neither feel shy, hesitant or afraid of asking these questions. Treat How and Why as your biggest friends in letting you think smart.

4.  Researching

Let me introduce you to two more powerful tools. These are Researching and Processing. First your research should not stop till you till you have the complete picture before you. There should be no gaps and nothing should be assumed or left to guess work.

5. Processing and Analysing

You are at a stage when you have all the necessary data or information but you are not ready to take a decision yet. The information has to be separated and laid out in the order of importance. Let the most important input be on the top and the least important at the bottom.

In management parlance, it is called the inverted pyramid.

6. The Decision

The steps 1 to 5 listed above will give you the high quality output which should enable you to take the best possible decision under the given circumstances.

What difference does this make to follow the think smart process?

You have proceeded in a most logical and scientific process to evaluate a situation or an issue. Compared to it many others who have no idea how solid is their decision making process, whether it is based on properly researched and gathered facts or on hearsay, is the decision based on complete story in the view or just on a gut feeling.

Going further, you will have gains only and no regrets on looking back.

How to think smartHow to think smarter and better

So you interested to graduate to next level of smart thinking and you want to think smarter and better. Here are a few time tested tips:

1. Expose yourself to smart people and their way of thinking

How to think smart The creator of this Universe is incredible. Our world was, is and shall always be full of smart thinkers. Nobody can claim to have all the intelligence on all the subjects all the times. Technology, culture, literature, art keeps getting better and better with every passing moment. Look around and you will see today’s building smarter and smarter than before. The cars of today are more fuel efficient, comfortable and intelligent than cars of yesterday and future will see still better cars.

Similarly when you go out, travel, meet and interact with more people from diverse backgrounds you will be exposed to new concepts, way of thinking, paradigms and creativity in your area of interest.

2. To think smartly, do different things

Keeping in line with the idea of exposing yourself to new ideas and new people, try doing new things – such as befriending new people, new approach to work, experiment with read different or read additional books, try new routines which you considered boring. The key is exposure to new ideas and ways of life.

3. Be selective

It is one thing to spend your time with others but it is a better thing if you carefully chose the domain or the subjects in which you need to improve your thinking. Nobody can be good at everything in the world at all the times, as we are on this planet for a limited time and there is so much knowledge.

Hence be selective about spending your time with people who challenge them.

4. Be a realistic thinker

An idea or an approach thought by someone is smart if it is easy, practical and beneficial to use. Therefore, be realistic in your approach. Sometimes very ambitious people, wishful thinkers and over optimistic people find it hard to be realistic thinkers.

A realistic perspective allows you to get close enough to the depth of the issue so that you can find the best way to tackle it. Taking responsibility to face potential consequences also helps you be more efficient, and it gives you credibility. See How to be Strong Emotionally and Mentally

To become a more practical thinker, you must: 1. accept the truth, 2. do your spade work and get the facts, 3. think through the pros and cons, 4. consider the worst-case scenario, and 5. align your thinking with your resources.

5. Give no space to negative thinking

Former baseball star Sam Ewing once said that “nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done.”

It has been proven time and again that what was once thought impossible earlier is possible today. Therefore, banish all negative thoughts, limiting beliefs. Smart thinkers should think in terms of “I will” and “I can”, they only see possibilities.

6. Be Reflective

How to think smart Pondering over different dimensions of the issue gives you new perspective and confidence in your decision-making skills. It gives depth to your personality and power of thinking.

There is nothing better than meditation to develop this skill better.

As Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”See The Meaning and Purpose of Life

7.  Act on your idea

It’s one thing to have an idea, another to follow through. An idea is no good if it has not been acted upon. Ideas have a typical speed, they come and go very fast. Hence as soon you have the flash, record it, examine it and act on it immediately.

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