The Art of Thinking Clearly

The first step to clear thinking is to clear away any emotions, bias, trivia and preconceived notions that we may have regarding the decision that we are about to make.  Concentrate on the information that is essential to making the right decision.
Facilitate your clear thinking by using these lessons:

  1. Round up more than the usual suspects.  Get down and dirty with the research that you need to do and assemble all of the facts.  You are going to get better data by asking more and better questions.  Clear thinking requires observation and a willingness to look beyond the obvious.
  2. Look for hidden opportunities.  When trying to make a decision many of us get stuck in either/or scenarios.  Move beyond these and think of an alternative form of action.  Each time you think of another avenue, see if you can think of at least one more.  This will give you more choices when it comes to making your final decision.
  3. Use confidence to keep your cool.  Stand back and look at all of the good decisions that you have made in the past.  Clarity of thought requires you to have trust in yourself and in your decisions no matter what mistakes you may have made in the past.
  4. Become an amiable skeptic.  View things with a critical eye.  Reserve judgment if you feel that you are being moved in any one direction against your will.  Clear thinking requires that you maintain your skepticism but you want to take care that you don't move the decision making process into an adversarial arean.  Have fun with the process.
  5. Create a balance sheet.  Take a pen and paper and write down all of the options that you have come up with during your research.  List all of the advantages and disadvantages of each option and rate each one on a scale of 1-10.  One of the major components to thinking clearly is that you remove emotion from the decision making process and this quantification of the options allows you to do just that.
  6. Drop your musts.  We all have a tendency to turn our major desires into must haves.  This, however, limits your ability to think objectively.  The key to clear thinking is to remain flexible.
  7. Take a knife to the big decisions.  You wouldn't want to try to swallow a steak whole and you should not try to take a large problem and tackle it full on.  You can chunk the bigger problem down into smaller problems and tackle those in succession until you have dominated the large issue.


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