NOTE

1. The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

The surprising fact is that just a few learnable strategies of thinking can make you more effective in the classroom, the boardroom, and the living room. You can personally choose to become more successful by adopting five learnable habits, which, in this course, we not only explain in detail but also make concrete and practical. This puzzle module introduces those important habits.

1: Understand deeply

  • Don’t face complex issues head-on; first understand simple ideas deeply. Clear the clutter and expose what is really important. Be brutally honest about what you know and don’t know. Then see what’s missing, identify the gaps, and fill them in. Let go of bias, prejudice, and preconceived notions. There are degrees to understanding (it’s not just a yes-or-no proposition) and you can always heighten yours. Rock solid understanding is the foundation for success.

2: Make mistakes

  • Fail to succeed. Intentionally get it wrong to inevitably get it even more right. Mistakes are great teachers—they highlight unforeseen opportunities and holes in your understanding. They also show you which way to turn next and they ignite your imagination.

3: Raise questions

  • Constantly create questions to clarify and extend your understanding. What’s the real question? Working on the wrong questions can waste a lifetime. Ideas are in the air—the right questions will bring them out and help you see connections that otherwise would have been invisible.

4: Follow the flow of ideas

  • Look back to see where ideas came from and then look ahead to discover where those ideas may lead. A new idea is a beginning, not an end. Ideas are rare—milk them. Following the consequences of small ideas can result in big payoffs.

5: Change

  • The unchanging element is change—By mastering the first four elements, you can change the way you think and learn. You can always improve, grow, and extract more out of your education, yourself, and the way you live your life. Change is the universal constant that allows you to get the most out of living and learning.

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