Fast vs. Slow Thinking
What is the most valuable and highest paid work that you will ever do? In my mind, the answer to that question is thinking. Researchers believe an average human processes about 50,000 thoughts per day. Regardless of if you are making a huge decision with major consequences (such as deciding to have children) or if you are making a small decision with minor consequences (such as deciding what to eat for lunch), you must think in order to arrive at a resolution. The thoughts that you have ultimately impact the path your life will take.
It may seem like an overly bold statement to say “the thoughts that you have ultimately impact the path your life will take.” Think of it this way. If the quality of your thinking directly impacts the consequences of your thinking, and the consequences of your thinking directly impact the quality of your life, then transitively, the quality of your thinking should directly impact the quality of your life. Why then, do we pay such little attention to our thoughts when they hold so much power?
We should all resolve to improve the quality of our thinking. The more time we spend thinking well and thinking clearly, the more successful we will become. There are two types of thinking that are important to master in life:
1. Fast thinking – This type of thinking is automatic, instinctive, intuitive, and reactionary. I envision this type of thought like driving a car through traffic. You are being very mechanical while doing so, not putting much thought into stopping and going.
2. Slow thinking – This type of thinking is where you completely slow down your thoughts and take as much time as needed to work out issues. It is very deep and thorough, where you gather multiple opinions and completely clear your mind when deciding.
It is up to us to determine when to use each type of thinking. For example, if you find yourself in a scenario with little or no consequences (where you are parking your car, what you are eating, etc.), then you should use fast thinking. However, if you find yourself in a scenario with major consequences, then you should be aware that the situation requires slow thinking. The greatest obstacle we face on the path to success is that we use fast thinking where we should use slow thinking and slow thinking where we should use fast thinking.
Thus, when faced with an important scenario that requires slow thinking, you should try to put off the decision as long as possible – for a day, a week, or a month…just however long you can. You will find that the best decisions you make are the ones that you allow to “steam” for a while, like cooking pasta in boiling water. Pay attention to your thoughts and learn to use the right type of thinking in each situation. The entire quality of your life will change.
How has the thinking that you have used affected your life? Share your comments and feedback in the comment box below :).