Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.
Celebrating 25 years in business! CPD Member - The CPD Certification Service ilm Recognised Provider

The Art of Clear Thinking

The Art of Clear Thinking

The Art of Clear Thinking

One important skill is the art of clear thinking.

For this you need to be able to separate the "arbitrary" from the "possible".

Many people think there are only two kinds of statement:

  1. True statements
  2. False statements

In fact, there are FOUR classifications of statements:

  1. True
  2. False
  3. Possible and
  4. Arbitrary

True.

Defined as "a statement where all the available evidence supports the statement and none contradicts it.

Example: You are reading this article.

False.

Defined as "a statement where all the evidence contradicts the statement. There is none to support it.

Example: You are NOT reading this article.

Possible.

Defined as "a statement where there is some available evidence to support it but not enough to be labelled true"

Example: Mankind's carbon emissions are affecting the world climate.

Arbitrary.

Defined as "a statement where the statement is conceivable, but there is no evidence to suggest it is actually true."

Example: There is a burglar hiding in your house, right now!

Identifying the arbitrary from the possible.

It is vital that you separate the "arbitrary" from the "possible".

DO NOT confuse ARBITRARY statements and think of them as being POSSIBLE.

Do not make the almost universal error of accepting "arbitrary" (ie conceivable but with no evidence to support it) statements, as having the same status as "possible" (ie as having evidence to support it).

If you make this error you will have joined the other 99% of the world's population who are confused by this.

Separate the "arbitrary" from the "possible"

Imagine someone says to you:

"Is it possible there is a burglar lying in wait under your bed right now?"

"Is it possible that your partner is cheating on you when he/she goes out in the evening?"

"Is it possible that you might crash your car on your way home tonight and die?"

If you reply "yes - it is possible" you will cause yourself unnecessary worry.

The correct reply is "That is a conceivable, but arbitrary statement. What evidence have you got?"

Summary

Remember, there are four kinds of statement, not just true and false, but also possible and arbitrary.

Challenge other people who make arbitrary statements and claim "it is possible". Learn to say in response: "That is a conceivable, but arbitrary statement. What evidence have you got?"

Avoid blurting out your own arbitrary statements. Doing so can make you sound naïve.

Stop yourself from creating arbitrary fears (conceivable but without evidence) and reacting to them as if they were "possible" (ie statements with evidence to back them).

Do this and you will think more accurately and rest more soundly.

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.

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Further Reading in Personal Effectiveness

  • How to Lift My Mood
    Do you feel as optimistic and positive as you would like to be, or are you constantly feeling downhearted about life? Find out what makes your mind tick. Learn how to change how you feel, by giving your brain exposure to the right stimuli.
    Read Article >
  • Emotional Intelligence
    Emotional intelligence is the ability to empathise, or understand and appreciate how another person feels, given their context. Learn how to develop your emotional intelligence.
    Read Article >
  • How to Handle a Crisis Situation
    Panic, overreaction and making irrational decisions will make a crisis situation worse. Instead, take a more rational approach and make decisions based on facts. Here are five strategies to take when dealing with a crisis.
    Read Article >
  • What is self discipline?
    What is self discipline? Self-discipline is the act of mentally overriding your own mood, or momentary desire, and making yourself do what you think you should do, as opposed to doing what you feel like doing. In the sixties and seventies, and even today, Self-Discipline, is not a particularly popular idea...
    Read Article >
  • What is Common Sense?
    Do you make decisions based on instinct, rumour, guesses or fake news? Or do you take a practical, factual approach to life? If so, you have common sense. Common sense is the ability to think logically.
    Read Article >

Looking for Personal Development Training?

If you're looking to develop your Personal Effectiveness Skills, you may find this Personal Development Training Course beneficial:

Open Training Course Pricing and Availability

12 - 13 June
Birmingham
£900 +VAT
12 - 13 June
London - Central
£900 +VAT
17 - 18 June
Cheltenham Gloucestershire
£900 +VAT
17 - 18 June
Exeter
£900 +VAT
More dates and locations available
Save £100 on this course

Next Open Course Starts in 20 days, Birmingham, places available Book Now >