The Art of Thinking
Friday October 31st 2014

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11 Steps To Brilliant Thinking



1. Distinctions

What do I see? New ideas are the result of perceiving new distinctions.

2. Identity

Who am I? Why are these ideas important to me and why am I driven to share them with the world? Have I made my identity clear to the audience so they know where I am coming from?

3. Implications

Where do my ideas lead? If what I am saying is true, then what are all the consequences I can imagine?

4. Testing

What am I blind to? Have I imagined how my ideas might impact a variety of situations, places, and people? Have I questioned everything about my assumptions? What would prove me wrong? Can I create a model of my work, and find precise analogues.

5. Precedent

Who else has seen something like this? By asserting that I have something to say, I am entering into the great conversation of ideas that stretches back through the centuries. We cannot have knowledge of everything that was said before we got around to thinking, but we must try to know important precedent thought in our area.

6. Need

Who needs this knowledge? If what I am saying is so, who would this knowledge be valuable for? This question forces us out of focusing solely in our own area and may lead us to find the universals in our thinking. Understanding who needs us most will also help us in crafting what we say, because we will want to be useful to those who will give what we have to say highest priority.

7. Foundation

Are there underlying principles? What is the world I’m working in? What are the underlying values expressed here? What are the applicable rules or structure that obtain here? Can I pull these together into a coherent group or body of law?

8. Completion

Is everything here? If this is valuable for someone, am I giving my audience everything they need for this to be useful? If everything they need is not here, am I including referrals for the other information they will need in order to know enough to take action or teach others?

9. Connection

Who am I addressing? Do we understand the frame of reference of our audience?

Are we writing for our reader, speaking to our listener, carefully guiding the experience of our user?

10. Impact

Where do I want to go? In creating this work I have launched an alter ego of myself which will eventually take on a life of its own. If this development or body of knowledge succeeds in the marketplace of ideas, will it help me fulfill my goals for my life? Are the identities of the creators, the creation, and the users, aligned?

11. Advocacy

Am I supporting the adoption of my ideas? My thinking stands for me. Now, I must stand for what I have created.

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3 Responses to “11 Steps To Brilliant Thinking”

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