How to change your thinking ?

Do you want to master the process of good thinking? Do you want to be a better thinker tomorrow
than you are today? Then you need to engage in an ongoing process that improves your thinking.
I recommend you do the following:

1. Expose Yourself to Good Input 

Good thinkers always prime the pump of ideas. They always look for things
to get the thinking process started, because what you put in always impacts what comes out.
Read books, review trade magazines, listen to tapes, and spend time with good thinkers.
And when something intrigues you—whether it’s someone else’s idea or the seed of an idea that
you’ve come up with yourself—keep it in front of you. Put it in writing and keep it somewhere in
your favorite thinking place to stimulate your thinking.

2. Expose Yourself to Good Thinkers

 Spend time with the right people. As I worked on this section and bounced my ideas off of some
key people (so that my thoughts would be stretched), I realized something about myself.
All of the people in my life whom I consider to be close friends or colleagues are thinkers.
Now, I love all people. I try to be kind to everyone I meet, and I desire to add value to as many
people as I can through conferences, books, audio lessons, etc. But the people I seek out and
choose to spend time with all challenge me with their thinking and their actions. They are
constantly trying to grow and learn. If you want to be a sharp thinker, be around sharp people.

3. Choose to Think Good Thoughts 

To become a good thinker, you must become intentional about the thinking process. Regularly
put yourself in the right place to think, shape, stretch, and land your thoughts. Make it a priority.
Remember, thinking is a discipline. No matter what you choose to do, go to your thinking place,
take paper and pen, and make sure you capture your ideas in writing.

4. Act on Your Good Thoughts

 Ideas have a short shelf life. You must act on them before the expiration date.
World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker said it all when he remarked, “I can give you a
six-word the formula for success: Think things through—then follow through.”

5. Allow Your Emotions to Create Another Good Thought 

To start the thinking process, you cannot rely on your feelings. In Failing Forward, I wrote that you
can act your way into feeling long before you can feel your way into action. If you wait until you
feel like doing something, you will likely never accomplish it. The same is true for thinking. You
cannot wait until you feel like thinking. However, I’ve found that once you engage in the process
of good thinking, you can use your emotions to feed the process and create mental momentum.
Try it for yourself. After you go through the disciplined process of thinking and enjoy some
success, allow yourself to savor the moment and try riding the mental energy of that success.
If you’re like me, it’s likely to spur additional thoughts and productive ideas.

6. Repeat the Process

One good thought does not make a good life. The people who have one good thought and try to
ride it for an entire career often end up unhappy or destitute. They are the one-hit wonders, the
one-book authors, the one-message speakers, the one-time inventors who spend their life
struggling to protect or promote their single idea. Success comes to those who have an entire
mountain of gold that they continually mine, not those who find one nugget and try to live on it
for fifty years. To become someone who can mine a lot of gold, you need to keep repeating the
process of good thinking.


Becoming a good thinker isn’t overly complicated. It’s a discipline. If you do The six things I have
outlined, you will set yourself up for a lifestyle of better thinking. But what do you do to come up
with specific ideas on a day-to-day basis?
I want to teach you the process that I’ve used to discover and develop good thoughts. It’s certainly
not the only one that works, but it has worked well for me.

1. Find a Place to Think Your Thoughts 

If you go to your designated place to think to expect to generate good thoughts, then
eventually you will come up with some. Where is the best place to think? Everybody’s different.
Some people think best in the shower. Others, like my friend Dick Biggs, like to go to a park.
For me, the best places to think are in my car, on planes, and in the spa. Ideas come to me in
other places as well, such as when I’m in bed. (I keep a special lighted writing pad on my nightstand
for such times.)I believe I often get thoughts because I make it a habit to frequently go to my
thinking places. If you want to consistently generate ideas, you need to do the same thing. Find
a place where you can think, and plan to capture your thoughts on paper so that you don’t lose
them. When I found a place to think about my thoughts, my thoughts found a place in me.

2. Find a Place to Shape Your Thoughts 

Rarely do ideas come fully formed and completely worked out. Most of the time, they need to be
shaped until they have substance. As my friend Dan Reiland says, they have to “stand the test of
clarity and questioning.” During the shaping time, you want to hold an idea up to strong scrutiny.
Many times a thought that seemed outstanding late at night looks pretty silly in the light of day.
Ask questions about your ideas. Fine-tune them. One of the best ways to do that is to put your
thoughts in writing. Professor, college president, and U.S. senator S. I. Hayakawa wrote,
“Learning to write is learning to think. You don’t know anything clearly unless you can state
it in writing.” As you shape your thoughts, you find out whether an idea has potential. You learn
what you have. You also learn some things about yourself. 

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