Think About Thinking
The discipline of thinking about your thinking — helps you in analyzing your cognitive processes and therefore improving the quality of your thinking. And, while it may appear difficult, metacognition merely needs making time for self-reflection, which can be accomplished by daily writing, periodically checking in with your thought processes, and using some of the strategies listed below.
You’re off to a good start as long as you’re conscious of how you think.
Be mindful of loops
Many of us are acquainted with behavioral loops, such as how we instinctively look both ways before crossing the street or how our mouths wet when we go into our favorite restaurant. Our minds, like our bodies, develop certain “loops” that are similar to these learned bodily reflexes.
Mental loops are not necessarily negative; in fact, we sometimes require them to absorb the onslaught of new information we encounter during the day.
To prevent loops, we must educate our minds to think critically by reading books, listening to differing views, and educating ourselves about diverse ways of perceiving the world. You can also practice other mental models, as mentioned below.
Add to your mental model toolbox
We organize new knowledge based on the existing brain structure. The good news is that we can vary the types of models available, allowing us to get a deeper and more sophisticated understanding of the new information. Simply studying and practicing mental models is one method to expand your accessible mental models.
Consider the first principles mental model, which includes breaking complex issues down into component pieces and then reconstructing them from the bottom up. Or use the inversion technique: think about what you want, then think about the inverse of what you want – a proven approach to gain a fresh viewpoint.
Make diversity a rule not an exception
One of the many reasons to embrace diversity is that it will improve your understanding and your company’s inventiveness. Having more diverse viewpoints can make groups more adaptable to change. And, as any entrepreneur will tell you, change is a necessary component of innovation.
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