Reorganize your life: thinking ~> doing ~> being


The “thinking ~> doing ~> being” equation really resonates with me.  I believe it is an apt way to portray the global process of transitioning from thought to action.  Perhaps more importantly, it provides us with a vehicle to reflect on the significance of the action and if we are lucky, subsequently tie significance back to the original thought.  Although I hadn’t considered it until I wrote this essay, it could be one of the universal truths we all endeavor to seek out.  It passes the common sense test… that’s more than I can say for most equations I have encountered in my day.

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Before we attempt any action, that action is always preceded by an idea or creative thought process.  In my own personal life, I tend to be analytical and weigh potential benefits vs. potential negative ramifications.  If the decision at hand has potential positive value, I suggest we strike while the iron is hot.  Buckingham and Clifton (2001) might attribute that process to the signature theme of “strategic.”  For me, it’s a matter of asking myself (even if unconsciously)… “What if?”  I guess the point is, if there is one, is that the action is always preceded by a process by which the potential outcomes are sorted, weighed, and accessed.

Acar & Runco (2010) suggest that a style of thinking can have significant impact on future experience, and that past experience can have even greater impact on the present course of thought.  And so, my thoughts right now are governed by my experiences of yesteryear, and my thoughts tomorrow are influenced by my thoughts today.  Moreover, the ability to seamlessly transition between and among personality traits, such as extraversion and introversion, may suggest an individual possesses characteristics of a multidimensional personality conducive to both creativity and complexity.  (Haller & Courvoisier, 2010)  Shouldn’t we all aspire to learn how to drive a vehicle with 3 on the tree or 4 on the floor?  I guess it all depends on whether or not value better gas mileage?  Perhaps it’s more fun to drive than an automatic?  Whatever our reasoning, being able to seamlessly adapt to situations in the now is the measure of your ability to control your tomorrow.  Worst case scenario we score a new ride with those new paddle shifters!  Wishful thinking can produce optimism in light of success, or pessimism in the darkness of defeat.  (Vosgerau, 2010)  If I sign and drive today, I still have to make 60 monthly payments… so I am hesitant to get ahead of myself.  What if?  Select.  Strike.

The process of doing translates into putting a plan or process into action.  Furthermore, it’s a process of learning by trial and error.  I am of the opinion that mistakes can be our greatest teachers.  Research seems to support the old adage that people learn faster by doing when compared to (learning by) viewing.  (Stull & Mayer, 2007)  Perhaps more importantly, our thoughts and actions are often governed by what we think people THINK we are doing.  (Kozak, Marsh, & Wegner, 2006)  I don’t underestimate the power of approval or under-appreciate the significance of supervision.  Certainly, this paper would look much different if I knew you would never read it.  Perhaps that’s the challenge… to resolve the discrepancy between actions under supervision and actions while left alone with the cookie jar.  If there is a significant difference between what we would do under the bright lights, as compared to what we would do under the shroud of darkness, perhaps we should turn our attention to the last part of the equation… being.

Can you really claim “being” if there is any discrepancy between thought, action, and intent?  What are you “being” if there is a discrepancy?  Do we all aspire to be something different, or is there a common denominator that we share simply because we are all human?  In my mind, “being” is the process of learning to associate thoughts with actions, and learning to associate effects with causes.  Being is something we all do inadvertently, but seldom recognize the significance of.  The concept of being is full of more questions than answers for me, but I can’t resist the temptation to suggest that there is some common denominator that we all share simply by using and understanding the word…

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References

Acar, S., & Runco, M. A. (2010, Aug). Do tests of divergent thinking have an experiential bias?. Psychology of Aesthetics, 4(3), 144-148. doi: 10.1037/a0018969

Buckingham, M., & Clifton, D. O. (2001). Now, discover your strengths. New York: The Free Press.

Haller, S. C., & Courvoisier, S. D. (2010, Aug). Personality and thinking style in different creative domains. Psychology of Aesthetics, 4(3), 149-160. doi: 10.1037/a0017084

Kozak, M. N., Marsh, A. A., & Wegner, D. M. (2006, April). What do i think you’re doing? Action identification and mind attribution. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90(4), 543-555. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.90.4.543

Stull, A. T., & Mayer, R. E. (2007, Nov). Learning by doing versus learning by viewing: Three experimental comparisons of learner-generated versus author-provided graphic organizers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(4), 808-820. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.99.4.808

Vosgerau, J. (2010, Feb). How prevalent is wishful thinking? Misattribution of arousal causes optimism and pessimism in subjective probabilities.. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 139(1), 32-48. doi: 10.1037/a0018144

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About Kent Brooks

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