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Think About Thinking
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Photo: Zlatko Kostic
Thinking is a skill, and one you can always get better at if you take the time to think about your thinking!

The brain is incredible in its ability to take in information, but what it does with this information is a unique process that, in part, results from your own thinking. For example, if you are thinking about something at one level and someone else is thinking at another level, do you think you will end up with the same results? The answer is “No,” because each person processes information very differently. Thinking along that same line, what if you take information you have and change the way you are thinking about it, could you come out with a different result? The answer is “Yes!”

I invite you to think about six levels of thinking skills. Which one do you use the most?

Knowledge—This is basic fact or word gathering. We do fact gathering all our lives, but especially when we are young.

Understanding—Facts don't mean much unless you understand what they mean.

Analyze—This is pushing into high-level thinking. It requires the knowledge, understanding , and the risk of applying this knowledge. Many quit thinking at this level because it takes great effort. It involves making choices, comparing one to another, and the realization that more than one choice is possible. This confusion of what choice to make often shuts down our thinking process.

Creativity—New thinking! Creativity requires you to take old facts you've understood, and come up with a whole new way to use them.

Evaluating—This is the toughest level. One has to place value or judgment on an object or idea. Sometimes, we have to reject our current way of thinking, and with that comes different ways to do things. How creative.

Thinking is very important to individuals, and within families. Do you want to build your own thinking skills? Do you want your children and other important people to be involved in thinking to the best of their ability? You can set the stage. An idea to improve thinking is to imagine. Imagination is a high-level thinking skill that requires creativity, analysis and in some cases evaluation, if what you are imagining is also to have a practical application later on.

Brainstorming can be great fun and an important step in problem-solving. Think about how to do this for yourself or at home. For example, with your family at the dinner table, come up with ideas to keep the house cleaner that you can all work on together. Remember—there are many okay ways to do things! Bored at work? Take time to brainstorm ideas to change how and what you do at work; find ideas that are more stimulating for you and better for the business.

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By Susan E. Murray. Reprinted with permission from the Lake Union Herald, July 2007. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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