Someone told me the price of a particular pickup for sale in today’s auto/truck market, and I thought, wow, you have got to be kidding me! I asked what it was in particular that made it worth that much money, and the response was quality. The word quality can describe a truck or car, a home, clothes, of course the word could be used to describe a boat or a hunting rifle. A word that would be an opposite to the word quality would be the word junk.
Let me apply the word quality to thinking. But before we describe quality thinking, let me state this law of life, ”You can be certain that the quality of your actions and your life will never exceed the quality of your thinking.” Proverbs 23:7 says, ”As a person thinks, so he is.”
One quality thinker that I love to read recently said, ”there is obviously not a lot of clear thinking taking place in our country today evidenced by the words that are spoken and the things that are done.
Quality thinking is focused thinking. It might be on a problem that needs to be solved, or a plan that needs to be made, instead of fleeting thoughts on a variety of topics both important and frivolous. Focused thinking stays on the problem, plan or goal until there is resolution, a sense of accomplishment. It takes discipline and mental work to stay focused.
Quality thinking will often be critically reflective of ourselves in an effort to improve and grow in character, in our skills, and in how to accomplish more with our life that matters. The word quality assumes inspection, improvement, standards, and goals.
Quality thinking will not be influenced or controlled by our emotions. If a person replays a situation in their mind in which they were hurt, offended, humilated, cheated, or disrespected the resulting decisions and behaviour will not be quality, but junk.
Another very important essential in quality thinking is thinking that is based on reality instead of fantasy, what is true rather than made-up. Our brains are incredibly creative and they can create scenes that would give ”Alice in Wonderland” a run for it’s money.
There are a number of other descriptions of quality thinking that we could pursue as we work on continually becoming a person who is growing in wisdom, character, relationships, and accomplishment.
There are four major disciplines that we can engage in that will really help in our pursuit of being a quality thinker. The first is reading good books written by people who are quality thinkers. The higher the quality and the greater the depth of the content of a book the more focused our thinking needs to be to take in what we are reading. Our brains are lazy and much prefer to relax and take it easy as we read. Good books make us think .
The second is listening to good speakers and teachers who know their topic well and communicate about it clearly, persuasively, and convincingly. There is so much good stuff available on podcasts, and YouTube on any number of topics. I like to listen to people I know will present a view that is different than mine so that while I listen I need to interact with the content forcing me to think.
The third is writing, writing our thoughts down and then reading them, and evaluating if what we wrote makes sense. Writing a blog is a very effective discipline to improve the quality of our thinking, even if nobody ever reads it.
The fourth is discussions with quality thinkers, often who again have a different opinion or view than I do. A number of years I was involved with 4 other pastors and we got together about once a month for several hours and discussed various theological topics. It was a very unique group in that no one ever got mean spirited in their defense of their view or belief and everyone was incredibly gracious in their communication to the others. It was a very profitable time for me as a young pastor learning to think outside what I had been taught all of my life.