Tuesday, August 22, 2006

How to become a thinker

"Concentrate all your thoughts on the task at hand.
The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus."
- Alexander Graham Bell

Multitasking is a wonderful skill, so necessary for mothers and business people who find themselves with many simultaneous demands on their time.

As we bustle about our busy days, being able to tick off high priority tasks on our To-Do list is critical in order that we do not fall behind in productivity or even in dust control.

However, it's not thought. Thought is not an activity that may be engaged fully while participating in anything else.

Inspiration, yes. Many people get good ideas while lying in bed, while ironing, while driving a familiar route or while completing some common task that requires little attention from the brain.

What we do with an idea is thought. That requires total commitment of the brain, total focus on how one idea may be manipulated or massaged to produce something worthwhile.

Real thought need not take long. It may happen during a daydream break at work, while waiting for a traffic signal to change or when music on the radio is suppressed in the mind so that the gears all work in synch.

Or thought may take years to produce something worthwhile.

People who claim to work well under pressure produce solutions, grind out work, meet deadlines, but but they don't necessarily create great thought. Doing and thinking don't happen at the same time.

Real thinking is a solitary activity. Thoughts may be shared for the purpose of moving along some line of thought when the thinkers are alone later. But thinking itself is done alone. Only when a person is alone with their thoughts can they wander through the various possibilities of their thoughts, search the niches and crevices for weaknesses, learn to love what they have produced.

A great thought will have enemies, at least opponents. Without opposition, the thinker cannot fully explore the weaknesses and potential consequences of his thought. A person who cannot withstand opposition to his thought is not totally committed to it.

A thought must not only be created and developed, but defended against those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Thought inevitably involves change.

Truly great thoughts often take longer to be fully appreciated than the thinker has years to live. The thought, the great thought, becomes the legacy of the thinker.

Thought lives on when facts have become history.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help each person produce great thoughts.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

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