How to improve your thinking

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By Dr. Edward de Bono

By thinking, I mean mental activity that results in action or in a full exploration of a subject or in an insight or new idea.

As I explain in my book The Mechanism of Mind, the brain is designed to make and use patterns. Once we recognize the situation, then the routine action can be undertaken.

Sometimes we have to react to situations that appear totally new. We then seek to see whether there is any resemblance to a known situation.

Then there is problem-solving. Ultimately this is also a matter of applying elements of known routines but combining them in different ways.

It is only when we are trying to innovate that we are forced to 'think' rather than just applying a routine approach

It is not very often that anyone thinks about thinking. We do not think about walking or breathing. These things just happen.

Yet to watch our thinking in action can be very helpful and instructive. We can notice our usual habits. We can notice our weaknesses - and we can also notice our strengths.

Dealing with everyday matters is not a very good way to develop better thinking skills. The pressures are too great, and the search for a safe routine is simply too attractive.

I recommend a special forum for the exercise and enjoyment of thinking skills, THINKING CLUBS.

(c) Copyright Edward de Bono Ltd, trading as de Bono