Deep Thinking Illuminates The Secrets Of Your Mind

It is interesting how much advice we seek out on a daily basis. We want to know how to be successful. We want to discover the keys to being happy. We want to accomplish our dreams.

The truth is that we already know most of the answers. The catch? They’re buried in the recesses of our mind and we can’t get them unless we’re looking for them. Many people will rely on others to point them out.

This thinking woman seems to be considering sharing this article

Some of this is good, because others can be very insightful and quickly point out something we wouldn’t have noticed for years. But too many humans have come to be completely dependent on the ideas of others, as their own cognitive competency dwindles from lack of use.

A little while ago I wrote about how multi-tasking kills productivity, and in that article I referenced a study that clearly displayed the limits of the human mind. Because we have two frontal lobes (right, left), effective focus is maximized at two things at once (each lobe handles a different task). When a third task is added, the mind “drops” one of the first two.ย I still strongly prefer one activity, as in that case both lobes work together in order to accomplish the task and it allows for greater depth.

This isn’t exactly the same as life knowledge, but it does carry over.

We all have a sort of “framework” that we understand the world through. This framework of understanding is extremely complicated because of the thousands of variables (i.e. experience and knowledge) that go into forming it. Since our mind can only focus on one or two things at a time, we must intuitively draw missing data from our framework of understanding as we need it.

This being the case, there are always going to be some ideas/concepts on our mind’s backburners – blurry and out of focus. This is different from ignorance, because if we think of them, we can focus on them.

That’s Brilliant! …Even Though I Knew It Already

Can you recall an insightful book or article?

The profound parts – were they completely new untouchable information or something that you already knew deep down or could have figured out yourself? ย Most of the brilliant people of today are masters of finding those backburner ideas and illuminating them or combining them with other known ideas. 99% of brilliant ideas that amaze you are not outside of your own cognitive ability.

Hands and puzzle

Do you practice putting ideas together? Two ideas merged together successfully can change the world. Communication and technology combined to give us the internet.

You could come up with the idea for Facebook if you were already thinking along those lines of connecting people through the internet, right? It’s a simple idea that gradually developed more depth as it was developed.

The irony of this is that those who understand this principle and do something about it in daily life are the ones who come up with amazing ideas and live fulfilling lives. Call it what you want, but I call it deep thinking. Deep thinking contains two primary forms – critical and creative thinking. Critical asks, “What can I do better?” Creative asks, “What is possible here?”

The first article I wrote for this site was about deep thinking. It is the basis for everything I write about. I aim to think deeply enough to uncover those valuable ideas that are dormant on our backburners – waiting to be activated. In doing so, I want to create a movement of deep thinkers in a shallow world.

Here is a quote that connects my last post on the supernatural with this post about the problem of “the unthinking masses.”

At this point a suspicion may occur that Supernaturalism first arose from reading into the universe the structure of monarchical societies. But then of course it may with equal reason be suspected that Naturalism has arisen from reading into it the structure of modern democracies. The two suspicions thus cancel out and give us no help in deciding which theory is more likely to be true. They do indeed remind us that Supernaturalism is the characteristic philosophy of a monarchical age and Naturalism of a democratic, in the sense that Supernaturalism, even if false, would have been believed by the great mass of unthinking people four hundred years ago, just as Naturalism, even it false, will be believed by the great mass of unthinking people today.

~ CS Lewis

The problem with shallow thinking is that you only focus on your immediate environment and current desires. There is so much more waiting to be discovered, and it is accessible to you at any time by thinking (at home, on the go, everywhere!). I’ll give you an example of what I mean.

A few days ago, I purchased five dry erase boards with the intention of organizing my entire life in a specific way on them. This is not the type of activity that you just do on a Tuesday when you’re bored. It took significant deep thinking and planning, and that was after I spent a while thinking about ย what I wanted to do with my life and how to do it.

As you may have picked up by now, deep thinking only happens intentionally. Even if you love deep thinking, you’re wired to think on the surface as a default. It makes sense for an animal that has no higher desires, but we’re not satisfied with only having food, water, and shelter. We demand more out of life because we can and it is fulfilling on another level.

At the core of deep thinking is asking questions.

What do I want?ย How can I get it? Why is this this way? What possible solutions are to this problem? Am I going about this the right way? Why is everyone so stressed out?

If you’re wondering where to start, you’ve already begun.

About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Dave

I swear, every time you write a new post I happen to be sitting in front of my Twitter stream.

I don’t know how many times I’ve discovered new ideas and solutions to one of my problems while doing some deep thinking. I’ve been blessed/cursed with an overly analytical brain for most of my life and it has both helped me and overwhelmed me on different occasions.

I agree with making a conscious effort to practice deep thinking because when I start to get overwhelmed with overanalyzing, I need to actively stop myself and think about the roots of my problem. Like you said, often times the answer is there, you just need to find it.

Sometimes information is buried too far down and reading a good inspirational post helps resurrect the lost treasures.

As always, another great post!

p.s. I haven’t had a chance to look at your book yet because I’ve been so busy, but I plan on reading it tonight or tomorrow. I’ll be sure to send you my positive feedback on it -because I know it’ll be good ๐Ÿ™‚

– Dave

Chris Kahler @ Bloggeritus

This is a great post Stephen!

You’re right when you mentioned combining ideas… some of the greatest inventions of all time came from combining two ideas. Not saying anyone here has to be a revolutionary inventor though… even simple ideas for the sake of making your life easier still makes life easier!

I’m doing something similar with my blog as an experiment, so we’ll see how it goes. I’ve done exactly as this post mentions and went deep into thinking to piece this experiment together, and it’s combining quite a few ideas.

Oh, and you’re going to have to share with me the poster board system! I’m all into that kind of stuff lol.

Once again, great post it was intriguing on the deep end ๐Ÿ™‚

Chris

Douglas Prater

Deep thinking contains two primary forms โ€“ critical and creative thinking. Critical asks, โ€œWhat can I do better?โ€ Creative asks, โ€œWhat is possible here?โ€

Brilliantly put, Stephen. And in order to improve ourselves (and/or change the world) both critical thinking and creative thinking are absolutely necessary.

Notice, too, that both of those are “good questions” that come from a positive outlook. Too many people (parents/bosses) focus on “Here’s why that’s a stupid idea” instead of “What is possible here?”. I’ve had to carefully develop my internal “spam filter” to keep those people from holding me back any longer.

Can you imagine the attitude of “Pshh…lightbulbs are a stupid idea…Can you imagine the cost of infrastructure to build an electrical grid? It’ll never happen. I’ll keep making candles…” It’s better to focus on solutions than complain about problems (which you’ve said eloquently throught this blog).

But the shift to deep thinking and asking better questions is indeed a conscious decision. And making it isn’t a “one and done” affair: We have to continually recommit, moment by moment.

Thanks for the deep thoughts about deep thoughts

-Douglas

Stephen Guise

Hey Dave,

I meticulously track your twitter acti….er, I mean that is a crazy coincidence.

I have the same blessing/curse. The good news is that analytical brains are perfect deep-thinking machines. ๐Ÿ™‚

I agree about needing to “stop yourself” and find the root. The root will only be found through intentional focusing – so you have to drop all other mental activity.

This little story sounds stupid (seriously, it probably will), but it is exactly the thing I’m talking about. Today I was microwaving a potato dish (about 2 minutes cook time). I had the fork in my mouth. Then I realized I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet and dismissed it because I had the fork in my mouth and it seemed inconvenient.

Then, I intentionally decided to think deeper and realized that the solution was simple and I grabbed a napkin to put the fork on and went upstairs to brush my teeth. I came back as the microwave was finishing.

situation 1: finished food and still need to brush teeth sometime
situation 2: finished food and teeth are clean at no time cost (as I was waiting for the food).

This is what I’m talking about on a very small (nearly meaningless) level.

Stephen Guise

Chris,

You’re right that the simple ideas can make a difference! Look at the story I wrote under Dave’s comment. I’m intrigued by your blog experiment. Is there a launch date yet?

I should have a post on this system completed by the end of this week. I’m a big fan of it and it works great so far.

Stephen Guise

I love what you said about having a positive outlook. I’ve been reading through “The Power Of Positive Thinking.” Critical thinking and personal development have a poor reputation with some because they think it’s unhealthy to “focus on your flaws.”

It is they who have the incorrect perspective as it is a incessant desire to improve life.

Thank you for the compliments in your comment. Solutions are great, aren’t they? And problems can be twisted into a positive thing if you see them as “solution opportunities.” ๐Ÿ˜€

Thanks Douglas.

Chris Kahler

It’s not so much of a “single” event.. It’s much more ongoing and will likely never be finished. With that said, it’s technically already launched and will just grow from here.

It has stemmed partly from my drive to create and partly from the entrepreneurial urge to rapidly grow my blog.

It leverages curiosity, the long term lifespan of blogging, the joy of creation, and the ability to provide an immense amount of value in a transparent way.

If you want to read about it, I’ve got the details here. I don’t want to take up your comment space more than necessary ๐Ÿ™‚

The Mega Series Experiment. If you have any suggestions, I would LOVE them. I haven’t really received any feedback on the idea… no one I know personally gives a rat’s ass about online work lol.

Stephen Guise

So a series of series then? It seems like a good idea to me. I’ve been thinking a lot about starting up a series myself. The content idea I have is a bit intimidating and new, so I’m still considering options there.

I think that a completed, comprehensive series is pretty valuable, so it is good to break the mega series up into smaller ones that can be completed.

digital world

It will be hard for me to sleep now. I will keep thinking about different things in my life:D

Great ideas btw. This site can be the next facebook:)

Stephen Guise

The next facebook!? Wow, I have high expectations for this site, but that is astronomical for a blog to accomplish. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll do what I can, haha.

Sorry, you definitely should have read this in the morning. ๐Ÿ˜€

digital world

ya but considering the quality of your posts its completely possible. Think deep:D

Stephen Guise

I appreciate that! I’ll go for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Daniel

As that old saying goes ” Most people know what to do but very few people do what they know” . Well, something like that anyway.

Many a great mind has mentioned, ” They plucked the ideas from the ether”.

Though, what I believe they are getting at, is that there really is no end to the imagination.

Yet, quite contrary to this, we here often(Especially in writing fields like Blogging) that, ” Everything that could be said, has already been said or written about(My loose translation).

Even way back, one of the great ones of yore(Yes, the big E), lamented ” There is nothing new under the sun”.

For my part, as far as thinking and the creative mind(Imagination) is concerned, if you can maintain a balance this should provide great results.

I have already visited the out Realms(Or was that inner Realms) of analytic thinking( and reasoning) and have gone just as far, with my creative mind(Imagination).
I went through a period of ultra deep searching, and questioning.

I think at one stage I went to what is is referred to as ” Beyond the Beyond” in mind and spirit.
At this point you do not need to ask questions. You just know.
At that time in my life, I use to have people I had never met before, walking up to me and asking for help with their life(Often very personal questions).
I also had insights which had people shaking their head with amazement, yet I did not see it as any big deal.
At that point in my life I was seeing(sensing) what others did not(Though I am sure they could if they were more tuned in / or was that tuned out?).

This gift, if you could call it that, was also sometimes a curse as I was able to see through people.

I believe this all happened due to my overactive creative and Analytic mind(s) and my over – developed imagination eventually somehow overlapping, and fusing together into some form of complimentary agreement.

This manner of thought, is still with me today(Though not as potent).

Daniel.

Stephen Guise

That’s interesting Daniel. I think that all people emit a sort of aura that others are either attracted or not. So it makes sense that if you changed a lot and saw the world differently, others perceived you differently.

I think you spiritualize thinking more than I do, but that’s fine. Thank you for your comment and insights! It was interesting to read about your experiences with deep thinking.

Seeing through people would certainly be a blessing and curse at the same time – because there are a lot of people out there who aren’t all that genuine.

alfa fan

The state of mind that you’re in affects the people around you, especially the close ones. All you have to do is this: always act positively even if you have reasons for concern or being upset and never let other’s negative state of mind get to you.

you are talking about deep thinking here; but i found out that some people simply don’t think. I sometimes waste lots of time trying to find out how could I stimulate them not only to think, but to think correctly too, to help them avoid negative impact on their lives.

Daniel

Steve, removing all my “Mumbo Jumbo” talk, what I was wishing to say was that at that time I was able to obtain an incredible amount of focus on whatever was happening at that time. Maybe in someway I had managed to filter out most of(Hey! not all) the surrounding distractions, enabling me to get a better idea of what was taking place.

Daniel.

Stephen Guise

Oh I see. That makes sense. There are is a TV show about a person who is extremely perceptive called Psych I think in which his perception allows him to see things that others don’t. They think he is psychic, but he is just perceptive!

Extreme focus is not too different from magic in my opinion. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for clarifying that Daniel.

Stephen Guise

Alfa fan,

I think you are right on! Our disposition can have a tremendous effect on others and vice versa.

When I say deep thinking, I really mean what you’re talking about. We’re always having thoughts, but some people have them passively and let their mind wander instead of taking control of it. It takes effort to think!

MANICKAM VIJAYABANU

Stephen,
Nice article. Its true that, deep internal visualization has strong impact with our success. I personally believe, deep thinking similar like a sequential protocol. At most times when we perceive things we fail to get in deep level to understand the whole impact. Once we learn that art, surely will show success down the line. Thanks for sharing. Manickam

Stephen Guise

Hi Manickam!

Thanks for visiting. I saw you commented on my Problogger post.

Your observations of life are accurate. Understanding how things work and how they affect other areas is a crucial part of success in anything. Understanding doesn’t usually come accidentally, so we must be intentional about it.

MANICKAM VIJAYABANU

Stephen,
I am glad you like my comments and happy to see your review. keep blogging and let’s discuss. Way to go. Thanks.

Is It Down

I totally agree that many ideas we hear and think are these amazing and profound thoughts, are actually ideas we could have come up with on our own if we just thought hard enough! Thanks for this article, it’s important to remember that we do have these things inside, the trick is to look deep enough to find them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Laurie

Stephen Guise

You’re welcome Laurie! Thanks so much for letting me know your thoughts on these various articles. I really enjoy the discussion you bring.

The reason people don’t think deeply is because it’s like work and they don’t think of thinking in that way!

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