3 Ideas in 2 Minutes on Better Thinking Skills
What Is Thinking?, 5 Habits of the Master Thinker & Overthinking
I. What Is Thinking?
Intelligence analyst and author David T. Moore on what it means to think:
Thinking – or reasoning – involves objectively connecting present beliefs with evidence in order to believe something else.
—David T. Moore, Critical Thinking and Intelligence Analysis
II. 5 Habits of the Master Thinker
CEO and former intelligence analyst Randy Pherson on habits you can cultivate in case you don’t have enough time to think deeply.
A good analytic thinker who has mastered the core structured analytic techniques
Know when to challenge key assumptions—usually far more often than you think!
Consider alternative explanations or hypotheses for all events—including the null hypothesis and the deception hypothesis when applicable.
Look for inconsistent data that provides sufficient justification to quickly discard a candidate hypothesis.
Focus on the key drivers that best explain what has occurred or what is about to happen.
Anticipate the customers’ needs and understand the overarching context within which the analysis is being done.
—Randolph H. Pherson, The Five Habits of the Master Thinker
You can find Randy’s book on structured analytic techniques on my Reading List. I’ve also written a comprehensive post on how to upgrade your thinking cultivating the five habits.
British writer and philosopher Alan Watts on overthinking as a reason to meditate:
Most of us think compulsively all the time. That is to say we talk to ourselves. And I remember when I was a boy we had a common saying: ‘Talking to yourself is the first sign of madness.’
Now obviously, if I talk all the time I don’t hear what anyone else has to say. And so in exactly the same way, if I think all the time, that is to say I talk to myself all the time, I don’t have anything to think about except thoughts.
And therefore I’m living entirely in the world of symbols and I’m never in relationship with reality.
Have a great week,