ArchivesThinking Effectively Archives — C. Lynn Northrup, CPA, CPIM

Effective Thinking

January 14th, 2018

Effective thinking is what separates superior performance from average performance. It is a mindset that allows your talent to excel. Thinking effectively is not something you have or don’t have. It is developed from experience and coaching.

Effective thinking is like confidence, composure, and mental toughness. When you think effectively it shows based on how you look, feel, and behave. Think of effective thinking as a state of mind and a way of performing and reacting mentally. It is not etched in stone and can change based on the situation.

Think about what you want to have happen versus what you don’t want to happen. Thinking effectively is a choice you make every day. Try to reward your effective thinking just like you would any other performance. It takes practice and perseverance to achieve effective thinking on a consistent basis.

People tend to spend energy on things that are non-productive. It is essential to place your focus and energy on what you need to do and avoid things and situations that don’t matter and that you can’t control. One way to get control over how your energy is focused is to identify and document all the factors that you cannot directly control. Then list all the factors that you can control that impact your thinking and actions. Finally, identify areas over which you have some control.

For items where you have no control there are three ways to deal with these thoughts:

  1. You can worry about these factors and let them negatively impact your thinking and performance.
  2. You can forget the uncontrollable factors since you can’t do anything about them.
  3. Or you can “just let go” of the non-controllable factors and make up your mind to overcome them with your thinking and performance.

For factors where you have some control, the key is to handle these situations in the best way possible and not let them negatively impact your thinking and performance. It is important to realize that there will always be things over which you will never have complete control. This is a fact of life so do the best you can and move on.

Effective thinking requires that you regularly assess your thinking and performance. This helps to figure out how to improve and get better. By understanding factors affecting your performance you can commit and respond to them appropriately. This process will take some time, so be patient. Just remember, your decisions, not the surrounding non-controllable factors will determine your destiny, your thinking, and performance.

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