How you think is the number one factor that determines your success and satisfaction in life. Yet most people don’t think they need to improve their thinking, or that it’s even possible. To them, thinking is like breathing. It just happens. As a result, they default to unconscious thinking, which is automatic, effortless, and often ineffective.
Anyone can learn to think better with the right mindset, skills, and strategies. In this article, I’m focusing on the importance of developing a thinking mindset.
The thinking mindset is a mental attitude that seeks to understand the world and how to effectively live in it. High achievers like Leonardo da Vinci, Marcus Aurelius, and Stephen Hawking, all exhibited certain traits which comprise the thinking mindset. If you are interested in achieving higher levels of success, you might want to strengthen the following traits:
- Curiosity. Curious people have a strong desire to know and learn things. Their interest in knowing how things work, and why things are the way they are, causes them to ask lots of questions. It also causes them to experiment to find out what works and what doesn’t. Their curiosity stimulates their minds so they are able to generate and execute great ideas. In the process of satisfying their curiosity, they become more knowledgeable, successful, and interesting.
- Observation. Observant people pay close attention to what’s going on within them and around them. They notice their own thoughts and actions and reflect on why they do what they do. This helps them see the truth about themselves and allows them to make positive changes. They also closely observe others to better understand them. They pay special attention to nonverbal cues since people do not always say what they’re really thinking. Additionally, they are among the first to spot new trends and identify problems so they are able to take advantage of opportunities and avoid risks before others even know they exist.
- Persistence. Persistent people continue their course of action despite facing difficulties. They don’t give up until they have achieved their goal. They ask for input from others and gather information. If they run into problems, they find a way around them. They may put an issue aside temporarily but will come back to it until they figure it out. Their desire to achieve their objective causes them to continually ask questions until they arrive at satisfactory answers. If they try one thing and that doesn’t work, they try something else. Eventually, they find a way to succeed.
- Calmness. Calm people maintain emotional self-control, which allows them to think clearly. While others become anxious in difficult situations, they remain focused on the task at hand. They aren’t thinking about themselves or what others are thinking of them; they’re thinking about the best way to handle the current issue or problem. They don’t get upset over minor irritations or worry about what could go wrong. They focus on the things they can control, which are their thoughts, feelings, and actions. They make good leaders because they get things done and are a calming presence on those around them.
- Honesty. Honest people are truthful with themselves and others. They’re realists. They understand that they cannot deal with a situation if they deny its existence. Their interest in the truth makes them open-minded. They’re not emotionally invested in being right. If someone else has a better answer, they’re happy to accept it. They seek solutions, not credit. Their honesty is refreshing to others and earns them trust. Being honest also raises their self-respect and self-esteem because they know who they are and what they stand for.
- Confidence. Confident people trust their own abilities, judgments, and qualities. They don’t believe they know everything, but they trust they will be able to find out what they need to know. Their confidence increases their chances of success because they are willing to try new things. They go after what they really want in life instead of worrying about failure. If they fail, they use it as a learning experience which allows them to succeed the next time. They’re confident in who they are and don’t feel the need to impress anyone. If you like them, great. If you don’t, fine. They like themselves.
If you’d like more information on how to further develop any of these traits so you can become more successful, check out The Thinking Game: A Winning Strategy for Achieving Your Goals – available May 21, 2019, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and other bookstores around the world.