Thinking – what could be so simple? Or is it?



We all think – sports and peak performance coach Jim Fannin says we have anywhere between 2,000 to 3,500 thoughts a day. What distinguishes excellent performers in any field from sports to business to any aspect of life is the quality of one’s thinking.

James Allen has aptly stated,“you are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” The thoughts we have today lay the seed for our life in the future.

It is in the quality not the quantity of our thinking in our information saturated world that all future potential lies.

I’ve been struck how the opening verses of Genesis in the Old Testament imply this with the story of creation. God spoke – or, put it another way, He expressed a thought – and it was so from light to the heavens to dry land to the celestial bodies to the fish of the sea and animals.

Everything is created twice – first in the mind and then in the physical world. As human beings made in the image of God we see that outworking everywhere around us.

Just look around the room you are sitting in right now. Everything, apart from the people and plants in your room was once a thought in the mind of another human being – from the chair you are sitting on to the paper clip on your desk to the computer you are reading this from.

On one level so obvious, but on another level quite amazing.

I’d encourage you to stop right now and reflect on that for a minute. Thoughts are incredibly powerful and hold the key to so much we wish to desire and achieve. Not all thoughts have equal importance or potential – but each has a frequency or vibration that shows up on an EEG (Electroencephalogram). Quite simply change your thinking and you can change your life.

But thinking is not easy.
Winston Churchill has been quoted to say, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”

We are taught all sorts of skills in life, but one I don’t think (pardon the pun!) we are taught is how to think. One of the downsides of our media saturated society is that a lot of thinking is done for us. The danger is to think that because a lot of people say or believe something then it must be right. Or the other problem is that we are so overloaded with information we feel we have no time to think.

We live in a distracting world. However, as someone has aptly said, your mind is not for holding ideas, but for having ideas.

Good thinking does not come in a hurry, but when we are relaxed and in an unstressed frame of mind. I’ve often been struck how great ideas have come to me at the strangest of times – in the shower or when swimming or on holiday. Some of my best insights have come when I have been relaxed.

There is something about how the mental work of thinking is so different to physical work. In physical work more effort leads to greater results. But in mental work, greater relaxation leads to deeper insight and quality of ideas.

So to summarise, to improve the quality of your life, you first need to improve the quality of your thinking. The apostle Paul writing 2,000 years ago from a prison cell to disciples of Christ in Philippi (in what is now modern day Greece) was able to say (this is from the Message translation of the original Greek):

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

What are your thoughts on thinking?
What questions do you have about how to raise the level of your thinking?
When do you do your best thinking?
Do feel free to share your thoughts!