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How to Think Straight

How to think straight

How to Think Straight

In order to think straight, you need to remember the following:

  1. Always put the facts before your feelings.
  2. Never allow your likes, dislikes, preconceptions or stereotypes to distort your perception of the facts.
  3. Never deny or evade a fact, simply because you find it unpleasant.
  4. Never accept a claim, simply because you find it appealing.
  5. Only accept a claim, on the basis of the evidence presented for it.
  6. Recognise that contradictions cannot exist in reality.
  7. If you discover a contradiction in your thinking, then you know that at least one of your ideas is wrong.
  8. Straight thinking is coherent (NON-contradictory) thinking.
  9. Ensure all your main terms each have a precise definition.
  10. Avoid being dogmatic.

1. Always put the facts before your feelings.

Straight thinking is about the correct identification, analysis and interpretation of the facts of reality.

It is common error to allow one's ideas to distort the facts, rather than to be guided by them.

Obviously not all ideas can be true. Straight thinking is about discerning the true from the not true.

Straight thinking is the result of basing your conclusions, upon a logical evaluation of all the available facts.

2. Never allow your likes, dislikes, preconceptions or stereotypes to distort your perception of the facts.

This follows on from the above. Your goal is to base your conclusions upon a logical evaluation of all the available facts.

You must never use your prejudices, fears, likes or dislikes to act as an agent of distortion in your thinking.

Banish your preconceptions and take a fresh unobstructed view of reality.

Look at the world with the eyes of a child and see the world as it really is.

3. Never deny or evade a fact, simply because you find it unpleasant.

If your intellect brings you to a conclusion that you find emotionally distasteful, then do not evade the truth, instead deal with it!

You cannot live effectively by putting your head in the sand and pretending things are as you would wish them to be.

In order to master a situation, you must first recognise and acknowledge any distasteful, but true facts.

4. Never accept a claim, simply because you find it appealing.

The opposite is also true. You must never invent realities, simply in order to satisfy some emotional desire.

It is easy to mistake wishful thinking for optimism.

Straight thinking involves adopting total commitment to perceiving reality straight.

5. Only accept a claim, on the basis of the evidence presented for it.

You should only accept an idea based upon the evidence given to prove it.

  • Not anything is possible.
  • Not everything is true.
  • Ignorance is NOT bliss.

Your aim as an exponent of straight thinking, is to act only when you know the reasons, the nature and the purpose of your action.

6. Recognise that contradictions cannot exist in reality.

Reality is an objective absolute.

You need to base your thinking on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

The task of the straight thinker is to correctly perceive, identify, evaluate and respond to reality and its laws.

Since reality is a self-consistent system, your thinking should mirror that same level of self-consistency.

7. If you discover a contradiction in your thinking, then you know that at least one of your ideas is wrong.

A contradiction is whenever you try to simultaneously say,

  • "It is, and it isn't" or
  • "Yes and no".

Since reality is a self-consistent system, any apparent paradox reveals that there is something wrong with your thinking, NOT that something is wrong with reality.

8. Straight thinking is coherent (NON-contradictory) thinking.

That means you should never contradict yourself, (eg say one thing and do the opposite) and your statements should always be consistent with the observed facts.

The existence of any contradiction should be your clue that you need to revise your thinking, in order to discover the source and nature of your confusion.

Only when you have ironed-out any and all contradictions, can you be said to have your thinking straight.

9. Ensure your main terms each have a precise definition.

For example, before you can argue whether something is, or is not "fair", you need to have a precise definition of the term "fairness".

The mind understands reality by three main methods, words, images and numbers.

When using words, it is important to give each term a specific definition.

A definition gives the exact connotation and meaning of a term.

For example, What connotation is meant by the word, 'justice', or 'intelligent', or 'genius'?

If you want to discuss whether Freddie Mercury was a genius, then you would need to first know something about Freddie Mercury, and you would need a specific definition of the word genius.

10. Avoid being dogmatic.

Straight thinking is a life-long process. You will die before you fully complete the task.

So, it is important to keep refining your skills and to never be too sure, you have all the right answers.

Always be open to revise your opinions, as and when you gain new knowledge and experience.

Always be prepared to listen to the opposing view and be prepared to change your mind.

A clear thinker always follows the evidence.

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too...

If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same...

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it..." Rudyard Kipling

About the Author: Chris Farmer

Chris

Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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