Capital Talk: Thinking about Thought

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), March 6, 2016 | Go to article overview

Capital Talk: Thinking about Thought


Chandigarh, March 6 -- What is obvious in hindsight, might be invisible in foresight," said Edward de Bono, a UK-based thinking trainer.

Most decisions in personal and business life seem 'so stupid' when one confronts the havoc that they result in that we are left wondering whether any thought was put in before the call was actually taken.

All of us have moments when we say to ourselves, "Gosh! What was I thinking when I did that?"

The answer is that 'really thinking' about anything is rare indeed, what happens is we act our prejudices, our fixed notions of good and bad and simply stop when 'we think' the day's job has been done to the specified standards of our superiors.

A dispassionate analysis would show that most 'thinking' usually starts well after the decision has been taken. This, of course, causes a lot of pain and stress when results simply do not measure up. Renting a house without verification of the tenant's bona fides definitely falls in this category. Challenging our notion that we think - when all we are doing is defending our perceptions and arguing vociferously - is the credo of people like de Bono, who is quoted at the beginning of this piece.

Can we learn to think?

In our personal lives, we can manage to speak, act and behave with the bare minimum of thinking. A five-year-old 'thinks about' how to get a parent to buy her a toy and usually succeeds, not really by any logic or thoughtful arguments, but just by her charms or a tantrum or two.

However, in our 'business' lives we are paid, in essence, for the way we think and execute the responsibilities.

The question is how, why and what do we think? …

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