How to Think Clearer
Clear thinking spills over to all aspects of your life.
‘Even communication skills?’
Especially communication skills.
At the end of the day, speech is simply tangible thoughts.
So if you are a messy thinker, often, your speech will follow suit.
In this site, we are all about creating confident communicators.
So rather than focusing on the tactics, we are going to focus on the core issue.
How to think clearer?
This blog will discuss why we are messy thinkers, the process of externalization & 2 practical strategies to slow your thoughts down!
With consistency, you’ll be able to tame your thoughts.
And tamed thoughts allow you to feel more relaxed.
The more relaxed you are, the more creative you become.
It’s a domino effect.
So let’s begin our journey on how to think clearer.
Why is Your Thinking Messy?
‘Why is my thinking messy in the first place bro?’
Your thinking is messy because you were never taught HOW to think & due to consumerism.
These aren’t the only 2 reasons.
But 2 common ones that I have noticed.
To begin, we were never taught how to think.
But rather, what to think.
When you take a walk down memory lane, you realize that most of school came down to learning information which was preselected for us.
We didn’t have a class on how to think effectively.
But we sure as hell were told which subjects to think about.
Next, consumerism is adding a lot of unneeded complexity to our lives.
Think about it for a second.
- How much stuff do we have in our house that we don’t need?
- Are we someone who hoards?
- Do we consume a lot of media throughout the day?
Well, that level of consumerism leads to chain effects.
All the unneeded noise is making your body absorb more energy.
And the lack of production causes that energy to go unused.
Unused energy leads to more anxious thoughts.
And those anxious thoughts lead to messy thinking.
A chain of destruction.
How to Fix Messy Thinking
You fix messy thinking by taking control of your thoughts.
Now wait, don’t run off yet.
I know controlling your thoughts is no easy task.
Simply trying to think your way into a calm state of mind is difficult.
Which is why people actively avoid meditation.
But it becomes MUCH easier to control your thoughts when you can see them.
In Josh Kaufman’s hit book, The Personal MBA, he brings up the concept of externalization.
Externalization is the process of transforming our thoughts into some sort of external form.
When you implement the habit of externalization, you are able to think clearer.
It is easier to fix your thoughts when you have them staring back at you.
That’s when you are able to see your line of thinking, rationale & cognitive abilities.
The goal is to turn the intangible into tangible.
Externalization thru Speaking & Writing
The beauty of externalization is that it gives you the ability to master a few things:
- You become a clearer thinker.
- Become a better speaker.
- Become a better writer.
‘I become a better writer & speaker??”
Oh wait, I just told you what externalization is.
I haven’t told you how to do it.
How does one do externalization?
Well, there are plenty of forms of expression.
But my choices are through writing and speaking.
Let’s go through each one.
There isn’t much of a framework that I would recommend in the initial stages of writing.
I recommend you do some good ole’ fashioned free writing.
Write about whatever you want.
Don’t get too caught up on grammar, sentence structure, word selection, etc.
Heck, it’s best to think less & write more.
‘Should I do the writing on Microsoft Word or pen & paper?’
I’ve tried both methods.
But as of late, I’m more team pen & paper.
I become much more mindful of the writing process.
That’s probably because I rarely use a pen or pencil nowadays.
So the act of physically writing something out is somewhat foreign to my brain.
This allows me to stay mindful in the act rather than doing it mindlessly.
Buy a journal and give it a try.
If you don’t have a journal, then Microsoft Doc is fine as well!
So this is sort of like talking to yourself.
But I highly recommend that you record the speaking process.
The problem with just talking to yourself when you first start out externalization is that you’ll have the tendency to get distracted.
You’ll lose focus & keep switching train of thoughts.
Remember, the goal is to become a clearer thinker.
So leverage the recording app on your phone or buy a digital recorder.
My recommended technique for this task is to take it ONE word at a time.
This allows you to focus on the micro & build up.
Speak at a comfortable pace.
In the initial stages, when you try doing a mind dump on your voice recorder, you end up getting gassed.
Just. One. Word. At. A. Time.
Step by step in the right direction leads to progress.
You’ll be surprised how great ideas can be born from just one word at a time.
Think Clearer, Communicate Better
Externalization, just like any skill, has compounding effects.
You’ll notice the clarity in your thoughts after a few weeks of consistent practice.
The process of turning thoughts into an external form is highly powerful.
Some of you guys may not meditate because you hate sitting alone in silence.
So in that case, try out externalization.
Write & speak.
Slow your thoughts down.
Picking up mediation in the future will feel much easier!
Overall, the chain effects take a stronger hold in your life.
The ability to see your thoughts gives you the ability to choose the narrative.
Become a clearer thinker & watch the positive effects spill over to other parts of your life as well.
Now pick your method/s & begin!