To Think or Not to Think…

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”

— Margaret Mead


Getting a college degree was a goal I set while serving in the army.  A while ago I was thinking about what I really got out of the experience besides my diploma.

As I thought this through, I realized that I had forgotten most of the data such as facts, figures and dates we were required to memorize to pass a test, although I know where to find that information if I need it.

As I thought deeper I realized that it was the rigor in thinking that was most useful. I loved the conversation I would have with my professors about economics. I remember one day I excitedly went to my economics professor to discuss my new insight into economics. As I presented my new economic model he listened intently. Then he said, “Oh, that’s a variation of Keynesian economics (output is influenced by demand).”

At first I was crushed. But that didn’t stop me. The next week I came in again with another brilliant discovery which we discussed at length and found out that theory was already discovered in the late 1800’s. Dashed again but not crushed. I still had other theories to explore.

What I really got out of college was how to think…not what to think. Even if the ideas were already known they were still useful, valuable, and provocative. I love having clients like that today.

Action Step: Have you stopped thinking for yourself? Are you stuck in a seemingly endless loop? What can you do to begin to think differently about your situation and circumstances to break out and have what you really want.

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