Get Thinking!

Can I change the way I think?

The simple answer to this is yes. Think of an issue or topic from your everyday life about which your thinking has changed and developed. Perhaps something practical like becoming computer-literate, or your thinking on a topical or ethical issue such as fox-hunting, animal experimentation or euthanasia. How did your views and thinking change? What contributed to the change? What was the experience of change like?

Think about this:

It is common for people to change their thinking and views. Gaining more information or a particular experience, incident or need can sometimes be a triggering factor. For example, having (or being close to someone who has) a serious illness requiring drug therapies that have been tested on animals may trigger more thinking on this issue and perhaps shed a different light on it.

Having our established ideas and activities challenged can be uncomfortable. We may feel angry, threatened and want to resist change; or perhaps shocked and sad. Perhaps we experi­ence guilty feelings about previous uninformed views. But, ultimately we will move on and grow as a result of such changes. Like other aspects of our lives and learning, it is important to remember that thinking is intimately connected to our feelings, environment, experiences and other factors. To move on and grow, we need challenge, change and new experiences.

Remember that, like other skills, thinking improves with persistence, tenacity and practice. Evidence shows that people who are high achievers in their field have strong foundations in the basics; they practice a lot and have usually built up extensive experience over a long period of time. Quotes and mottoes can be a useful tool to help you remember this and keep going. Why not start a collection? Here are a few examples to start you off.

  • Everything is difficult until it is easy.
  • Achievement is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration (Winston Churchill).
  • You may be a starter, but are you a finisher? (Margaret Thatcher).

To develop your thinking skills further go to the Open University OpenLearn unit Extending and developing your thinking skills

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