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The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking


The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

Effective thinking is a crucial skill that can lead to new insights, creative solutions, and personal growth. The 5 elements of effective thinking provide a framework for enhancing our thinking abilities and approaching problems in a more productive way. Let’s explore these elements and understand how they contribute to effective thinking.

1. Understanding Deeply

To think effectively, it is essential to understand the subject matter deeply. This involves going beyond surface-level knowledge and delving into the core concepts and principles. By seeking the essential aspects and clearing away unnecessary clutter, we can grasp the essence of a problem or situation. Understanding deeply provides a solid foundation for further thinking and problem-solving.

2. Making Mistakes

Mistakes are not something to be feared but embraced as opportunities for growth. By allowing ourselves to make mistakes, we open doors to new insights and learning experiences. Failure is not a sign of weakness but a stepping stone towards success. It is through failures that we gain valuable lessons and refine our thinking. By being open to making mistakes, we cultivate a mindset of continuous improvement.

3. Raising Questions

Asking meaningful questions is a powerful tool for effective thinking. By challenging assumptions and seeking alternative perspectives, we can uncover new insights and approaches. Framing questions in different ways and exploring the limits of our understanding helps us to think more deeply and critically. Questions drive curiosity and lead to innovative solutions.

4. Following the Flow of Ideas

Thinking effectively involves recognizing the flow of ideas and building upon existing knowledge. By examining the past and present ideas, we can create bridges to new ones. Understanding how concepts evolve and connecting them to different contexts allows us to generate fresh insights. By embracing the flow of ideas, we can adapt and improve our thinking processes.

5. Engaging Change

Change is a constant in life, and embracing it is essential for effective thinking. Adapting to new circumstances, challenging old habits, and seeking different perspectives can lead to personal growth and improved thinking. By being open to change, we create opportunities for innovation and transformation. Embracing change allows us to expand our thinking horizons and approach problems from new angles.

In conclusion, the 5 elements of effective thinking – understanding deeply, making mistakes, raising questions, following the flow of ideas, and engaging change – provide a roadmap for enhancing our thinking abilities. By incorporating these elements into our thought processes, we can think more effectively, gain valuable insights, and find innovative solutions. So, let’s embrace these elements and unlock our full thinking potential.


As with most things in life, nothing should be believed until it is proven by practice…

This book was a recommended read.  And after the many different references to the 4 Elements in esoteric studies, I had to check it out… 


The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

Research & Brainstorming Below


Preface: Think more effectively; imagination, new solutions, awareness, and taking action… provoking thought

Introduction: Five Elements; Understand deeply, Make mistakes, Raise questions, Follow the flow of ideas, Change… “…an intellectual GPS to help you navigate through life.”


Grounding Your Thinking: ***UNDERSTAND DEEPLY*** Understand simple things deeply; Clear the clutter-seek the essential; See what’s there; See what’s missing; Final thoughts: Deeper is better…

create a solid foundation; understanding; that which is under where we stand……

“The whole of science is merely a refinement of everyday thinking.” -Einstein
***create easier problems that you can solve… sweat the small stuff
–Uncover the essence; first, peel back the layers (distracting features) of the onion (problem). second, analyze the core, then apply insights to the whole…
clear the clutter to reveal the essence of the situation
–you can’t see everything, but you can ignore many things…
–when disecting a subject, find just one essential piece… focus on that one thing… center yourself, then discover outward… fill in the gaps of your understanding… rethink your views and adopt others temporarily…
***observe negative space; the gaps; the space surrounding objects/thoughts…
–become curious of limitations in everyday situations/things/thoughts; use adjectives to discribe; like… wet clothing, cold coffee, stationary table, busy life, boring cell phone, exciting article, weak battery,
***identify and master the fundamental principles, ideas, methods… your familiar is full of unseen depth and wonder…

***Master the Basics; consider a skill or subject area to improve upon. Take five minutes to outline the specific components; pick one to spend 30 minutes improving… method of learning fundamentals… isolate one essential ingredient; … attach an adjective (or descriptive phrase) as a reality of the situation (limiting or taken for granted)… new opportunities? interesting and provocative insights***


Igniting Insights through Mistakes: ***FAIL TO SUCCEED*** Welcome accidental missteps-let your errors be your guide; Finding the right question to the wrong answer; Failing by intent; Final thoughts: A modified mind-set…

-fear of failure causes inaction… failure is a crucial element of; success, learning, teaching, and solving problems… provides direction
-failures are not signs of weakness, but signposts to success
-start with failure; exploit what is wrong; use others’ mistakes too…
–create a foundation upon failures; if you can’t do it right, do it wrong…
–create the mistake and then exploit it; it will lead to a better attempt or it will provide insight to a different question/problem/…
–use mistakes as your guide (insight/path); puts you in a better position
“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” -Hopper
–this attempt is wrong becaus of __________ .
–writting a first draft is needed, you can’t see the good/bad until its written…
–stress test to failure
trial by fire; the strategy of failing towards succeeding; fail first
try to fail 9 times before succeeding; (fail to succeed) exaggerate to extremes (characters/circumstances/features…); ***incremental approach to intentional invention
“The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.” -Pauling

***Try to persuade someone towards the positive effects of self knowledge in their pursuit of happiness…tell them about the common existence held by most and why the common way is primarily the wrong way to exist… the desires of most, when attained, are things that will not bring happiness… it is all mental, if you stay with the will to receive, without the will to bestow, pleasure is only existent at the moment of reception; it is gone shortly after. Having the purpose/intent (screen in place). If you fail, determine what parts didn’t work, and try again. In receiving you must be also intent on giving more back…


Creating Questions out of Thin Air: ***BE YOUR OWN SOCRATES*** How ansers can lead to questions; Creating questions enlivens your curiosity; What’s the real question? ; Final Thoughts: The art of creating questions and active listening…

Is it possible that you could generate effective leading questions through out the day? Challenges to your assumptions? Produce amazing insights? Wisdom for the asking? Hmmm… the questions are more crucial than the answers; framing the questions zeroes in on the important issues… “is this correct?” “How can I imporve this?”
-Come up with questions to direct next steps… constant, habitualy, for deeper engagement and inner experience… creative problem solving… all situations can be used to come up with priceless quesitons ***What if…. ? explore the limits of understanding… see what needs to be created
-Frame the same question in different ways; from different view points/perspectives… bridge ideas from discipline to another… create a test, this provides you with the core and its understanding… do you know the good questions? “If you can’t create the questions, you’re not ready for the test.” — “What can I do on a day-to-day basis to help me perform well when it counts?”
-create tests everyday for what you are perceiving (5 senses… 6th?). become an active listener through questions… engage constantly… generate from within… be thought provoking…
–create questions that lead to effective action… towards new insights/solutions/progress… (clarify what needs to be done)
–define success before asking how can I be successful…
-always question your questions
*** meta-questions; before starting task, ask what the goal/benefit of this task is… keep the answer in mind while working on task ***
Always be thinking of questions; become more alive/curious; actively engage while listening/living; open to ideas; discover places where assumptions are exposed; clarify what needs to be accomplished… be your own Socrates. ***Teach to learn. What is the motivation to learn a topic?
become more alive and curious… actively engage; more open to ideas


Seeing the Flow of Ideas ***LOOK BACK, LOOK FORWARD*** Understanding current ideas through the flow of ideas; Creating new ideas from old ones; Final thoughts: “Under construction” is the norm…

past ideas are a foundation for future ideas; there is a flow (like water) from the past to present and on to future…
-we have evolved through the elements of; understanding deeply, failing, and asking questions… to new insights and discovery
-do it quickly, then start from there
-find elements that lead to where you are (current idea), create bridges from each element… create new ideas by putting an idea in context then imagine it in different environments; construct bridges from it…
-take a concept and analyze how it comes from simpler ideas… where will it be in the future (flow)…
******”To truly understand a concept, discover how it naturally evolves from simpler thoughts. Recognizing that the present reality is a moment in a continuing evolution makes your understanding fit into a more coherent structure.”

“Engineer your own evolution.” See the flow of ideas; guess what’s next… anchors what’s there. Look back (reflect) to what was learned to get to where you are now… the best idea can be improved upon… see now not as a summit that has been reached, but as the base of the next summit to be climbed… look for the unintended consequences (current/future)… engage with and extend the idea; all ideas have extensions

The Quintessential

Engaging Change ***TRANSFORM YOURSELF***

Ancient Greek philosophy… the quintessential element was the unchanging material from which the extraterrestrial realm was made… the unchanging element is actually change itself. Let go of those forces that are holding you back from failing to success… everything coming at you are insights, ideas, and opportunities… think differently… there is great value in failures on your path to success… adapt the habit of change/improvement… instead of performing better, perform a different task (eyes open vs closed)… same desire but different way of getting there. zoom out to view problem/study, understand the big picture before tasking yourself with details… learn the flow of history, not just the specific dates… surrounding context makes it easier… look for that different task that the experts are completing effortlessly; do it differently not better; understand fundamentals deeply… don’t wait for insperation, just do it and make mistakes…

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

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