This Fortnight’s Habit of Mind is ‘Understanding Your Thinking’. There is nothing more practical than sound thinking. No matter what your circumstance or goals, no matter where you are, or what problems you face, you are better off if your thinking is sound. In every realm and situation of your life good thinking pays off.
But what about thinking about your thinking? How do your own thoughts, feelings and subsequently actions affect you and those around you? Thinking about this process is called Metacognition and apparently, all the smart people do it these days. Aristotle jumped on the band-wagon a bit early, around 350 BC, when he said: “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”.
Metacognition may have been an effective tool for Aristotle, but how can we use it in every day life? The answer is, for self-improvement. If we can understand the way our thoughts, and then subsequent actions, affect the people around us, then we have a much better chance of improving our ability to communicate and connect with those people. So, Metacognition is a handy tool that you can use to improve your performance however you like, and whenever you like.
I personally, try to reflect on my plans, thoughts and even conversations, to understand how they affected a situation and how alternative options could have improved the final outcome. So, give it a try, you might just find that Aristotle was right.
(Our school captain, Jim, told me that he often reflects on his split-second decision making within a rugby game. He thinks about how his decisions impact the game and how different decisions could have possibly improved the outcome.)
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