Are You a Lazy Thinker?

Only 55% of all Americans know that the sun is a star. I don’t know what they think it is, a planet maybe or maybe they just never thought about it. Maybe they just aren’t the curious type or maybe they just don’t think much at all. 

 

Or maybe they are just lazy thinkers.

 

Lazy thinkers assume a bunch of stuff. Many of the things they do they do because they have always done them. They don’t stop to think about what they do and why they do it. 

 

They would almost certainly be more successful, in every area of their life if they just challenged their thinking once in a while but that’s pretty hard to do without some help. 

 

Who helps you challenge your thinking? Who causes you to justify your decisions. Who squeezes the rationale out of you? Who is your “devil’s advocate?”

 

It is good, no, it is very good to have someone in your life that challenges your thinking. 

 

You should not be upset when your thinking is challenged, in fact, you should be grateful. When your thinking is challenged it keeps you from becoming a lazy thinker.

 

Some people, like me for instance, don’t challenge their thinking because they are always right. Except of course when they aren’t. Mark Twain said “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

 

Every decision I make is better when I make it while realizing that my thought process may be challenged by someone. When I have real reasons for making a decision with facts and logic to support those reasons I know that the decision will stand up to any challenge.

 

That’s almost certainly the case for you too.

 

If you need help challenging your thinking then ask for help. Find a mentor or a coach. Bounce your thinking off of someone you respect, let them provide you with an alternative view and perhaps some additional facts. 

 

Doing something because it’s always been done that way is the absolute worst reason for doing anything. It’s a terrible trap to fall into and it’s a trap that lazy thinkers live in all too often.


Be an energetic thinker, know how you came to the conclusions you came to. Know why, exactly why, you’re doing what you’re doing. Be prepared to defend everything you do, everything you say and most importantly, everything you think.

Think About This

When was the last time you stopped to think? I mean think, really really think. When was the last time you turned off, completely off, all your gadgets, screens, and computer to just sit quietly in thought?

If you’re like most people it’s probably been a long time, a very long time. Thinking, really thinking, about yourself, your life, and your legacy has never been harder. That little helper you carry around everywhere you go (some people call it a Smartphone) robs you of truly quiet time. 

These days “thinking” is too often equated with day dreaming and it’s frowned upon. If you have time to think then apparently you aren’t productive enough. If you have time to think then you have extra “bandwidth” and you should be doing something real with it, not wasting it thinking.” That’s what bad bosses and poor leaders believe anyway.

The fact is thinking, truly thinking, can be one of the most productive activities you will ever do. I’m not talking about becoming “lost in thought,” just the opposite, I’m talking about being “found in thought.”

I suppose some people might call it critical thinking but I’m not smart enough to write about that. What I’m talking about is just slowing down enough and eliminating the distractions that are now so common we don’t even realize they are distractions, and just considering your life. 

Your phone is a distraction, the little noise your computer makes every time an email arrives is a distraction. The sound machine you use to block out distractions is a distraction. Great thinking requires silence and solitude, as in the absence of noise and distractions.

If fact, maybe reflection is a more accurate term then just thinking. Whatever you want to call it, maybe I’ll call it reflective thinking, just stopping everything else to think from time to time has real benefits. 

It helps you learn from your mistakes. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to dwell on their mistakes but investing at least a little time to reflect on how they happen helps ensure we don’t endlessly repeat them. Mistakes can be a great learning tool, if we stop long enough to consider how they happen and what to do differently next time. 

Thinking is where great ideas originate. Taking stock of where you are in life, in your relationships, in your career, and just in general provides you with a guide for planning your future. It’s really difficult to know how to get someplace if you don’t know where you are to begin with. You might get lucky and things will work out but I for one don’t really want to count on luck for my success.

Thinking gives you fresh perspectives. Everybody, well most everybody, likes a good pity party now and then. True reflection brings that to a halt pretty quickly. I’d hazard a guess that on your worst day you’re better off than most people. Life is made up of good and bad and if you invest your time thinking about the good you’ll see just how much good there really is to enjoy.

If you really want to invest some time in reflective thinking then you’ll need to develop some discipline to do. If you were to look at my calendar you would see 30 minutes, everyday, every single day, set aside for planning. That’s my time, it’s from 5:00-5:30am each morning. I’m the only one in the house awake at that time, there are no distractions and most of that time I’m just thinking. A good many of these blog posts are thought up during that time. I take just a few minutes looking back at yesterday to see what I need to be better at today. I make a plan to get closer to one of my goals that very day. The 30 minutes fly by.

I do it at the same time everyday, no matter what else is going on. It’s safe to say those 30 minutes are the most valuable minutes of my day and I rarely give them up for anything. 

What do you think about the idea of stopping everything just to think? If you have ever thought about doing it then set aside some time, some distraction free time, and give it a try today. Please don’t tell me that you don’t have time, I won’t accept that as an excuse. It’s a question of priorities, not time.

Oh, just one other little caveat…thinking is vital to success but all the thinking in the world does little good if it isn’t followed up by doing. 

Thinking Isn’t Doing

Thinking is good, there is no doubt about that. Thinking too much however might not be so good. It’s amazing how often “over-thinking” leads to “under-doing.” We think so much about what we should do, or what we’re going to do, that we never actually get around to doing it. 

The most successful people know that thinking about doing something will never get it done. As important as thinking is, success in life comes from doing. Good ideas have no chance to become great ideas until somebody does something with them.

Thinking alone never leads to success, it is only when thinking is followed by action that an outcome is produced.

That little bit of insight is not news to anyone. Some of the people reading this will agree with it and start thinking about thinking less and doing more. Then they will think about it some more.

Here are just a couple of ideas to help you “thinkers” to think a little less and do a little more.

While you’re thinking you may want to be thinking about your plan of ACTION to help increase your chances of success. Many people don’t start something because they don’t know where, or how, to start. Sometimes getting started is all it takes to build a little momentum towards a successful outcome. So just start!

I’d recommend beginning your plan with the ultimate goal in mind. You don’t have to know every step on your path before you begin. If you know where you’re going (your goal) you will figure out the steps along the way.

Remember, starting small is better than not starting. Before you use “lack of resources,” time, money, help, or whatever, as an excuse not to begin you should know this…lack of resources is seldom the real problem…make sure your real problem isn’t lack of prioritizing. You may not have enough of something to do it all but never let that be an excuse for not doing all that you can. It’s amazing how the resources show up once you begin!

Get some help to get started, a long train often adds a second engine to get started. Find yourself a second engine…maybe a coach or mentor. The most successful people are not afraid to ask for help so ask someone who cares about you to give you a push. Once they get you started don’t forget to ask them to check up on you once in a while. A little accountability can go a long way.

Oh and one more thing…your thoughts are almost always reflected in your attitude so think positive thoughts. Think I CAN and then think I WILL!