If you have a job, you know your job. If you run a business, you
know your business. If you’re an armchair news commentator, you know
your news. If you’re a good cook… and so on.
But let’s face it: if we don’t know something important, chances are
we don’t know that we don’t know it, because we don’t know it!
And that might be where thinking comes in.
We’re always happy to get to the point where we don’t have to think
about what we’re doing; we might like that it’s so automatic, we could
do it in our sleep. Mothers, for example, learn to do 10 things at a
time when they’re raising children because they have to: they load the
washing machine, start defrosting something for dinner, run the bath
water, fold yesterday’s clean towels, turn on the cartoon channel, and
so on. It’s all just part of an automatic routine. What with
everything a mother must do, sometimes “thinking” goes to the bottom
of the pile. (Not to say that mothers don’t think about things all day
long — there’s always what to make for dinner, how to stretch the
budget, what changes have to be made when Grandma comes to live with
them, etc. — but often there simply is no time available for those
luxurious personal growth or cosmic awareness kind of thoughts that
require those unfortunately rare unclaimed minutes or hours.)
Take any job, business or endeavor: although you might think you’re
getting in some thinking time during that regular work day, whenever
that is and however it might look, think again. What you are doing —
if you’re actually doing your “job” — is thinking about what you’re
doing or what you have to do. Not that that’s a bad thing — it’s just
a reminder that free lance or focused “thinking” on something bigger
than oneself and one’s work can be quite a luxury to the average busy
There are people, sad to say, in today’s world — with so much
information available about so many things — who never seem to give a
thought to anything outside of what they DO. Oh, they may have a dream
or two, or a wish or three, about what they would prefer to be doing,
but heavy duty thinking that leads to amazing conclusions or necessary
life changes are probably not on their everyday agenda.
There’s an old saying: If you really want tomorrow to be different
than yesterday, you have to do something different TODAY.
Think about that! For example, if you never have enough time in the
morning — Duh!! Perhaps you just need to do something different and
get up earlier!
But there’s really so much more to that thinking business than just
realizing you might have to do something different today to make a
change in your tomorrow.
What got me thinking about thinking today was a conversation I was
involved in with one of my friends. He kept mentioning that so many of
his friends and/or acquaintances were satisfied with what they knew
and the “level,” if you will, of their own thought processes. They did
not particularly wish to stretch their minds and “take in” anything
new. They were not willing to listen, to ponder, or to learn. They had
become “stuck” on “I’m not interested in learning anything else.”
Those of us who grew up with someone in our life telling us to learn
something new every day probably don’t have that kind of a mindset and
we may find it somewhat hard to understand the mentally
set-in-their-ways crowd. But it still goes deeper than that. Way
deeper. Learning without thinking can be just as bad, if not worse.
Example: We all had playmates or friends of some kind while we were
growing up, even if they were imaginary. We often learned things from
them, but without engaging the deeper-than-shallow thinking process,
we might have gone along with whatever they said and learned some
really bad habits — things like smoking, stealing, lying, drug use —
and well as some false life lessons. Engaging one’s mind (thinking
about what one is doing) in the process of learning by example, or
even from bad advice, would have allowed one to contemplate those
so-called life lessons received at the hands of friends — or even
strangers — to see how they fit in with one’s own personal experience
or the image one would prefer to have about one’s own self.
If we would prefer to see ourselves as truthful, and additionally have
the personal experience that things always go better with truth —
especially when it comes to dealing with our parents — yet our friends
keep telling us that we can always lie about what we did, or intend to
do, we need to jog that thinking mechanism into action and not be led
astray by the various teachers of those false lessons.
Sometimes those who are new to thinking go all over the map with their
random thoughts. That can be okay, but to get in some quality
think-time, it might help to pick a topic about which one is curious
or confused, and jot down some thinking points. One can start with a
supposed conclusion and work “down” to see how it might have come to
be, or start with a question, and work “up” to finding an answer.
Thinking can be fun! But more importantly, it’s vital to keeping your
mind — and the home it lives in (your brain) — alive and happy.
Don’t limit yourself to what you know! Go cosmic! Just remember to
engage the act of thinking as you open your mind to learn.
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She
writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email
her at firstname.lastname@example.org.