The importance of thinking is like the importance of healthy food. Everybody agrees that healthy food is viable and most essential, but most people fail to get more of it.
Here I’m not going to state the obvious about how much we need to think and why. However I’m going to point out to a byproduct of thinking, that we don’t necessarily associate with our mind: beauty.
The concept of a beautiful mind is introduced my Edward de Bono in his book How to Have a Beautiful Mind. De Bono says:
Great physical beauty with a boring mind is boring.
He states that people who are beautiful might get the attention but they will never be able to keep that attention, unless they have a beautiful mind. He elaborates further by defining beauty.
Beauty is something that can be appreciated by others.
De Bono states that beautiful minds are not the minds that sit down and solve complex puzzles.
Rather they are minds that can be appreciated by others – usually through conversation.
There are of course other ways to appreciate the beauty of a mind, like reading about the ideas that mind has produced. But I think linking communication with thinking is an aesthetical context is a very powerful concept.
For the real value of thinking isn’t just the benefit it brings to the person who thinks. Its all about how much his or her thoughts impact others. The great minds of history didn’t come up with ideas that served them well. Their ideas were the ones most appreciated by the world because they influenced it in a positive way. Their ideas fascinated people and disrupted the status quo of accepted beliefs, as Sally Hogshead says in Fascinate , a book about the role fascination plays in our life. Fascination, the highest form of appreciating beauty, is a powerful force. It creates change. And it can promote action.
Back to De Bono, he makes a great point about mental beauty.
You are born with a certain shape of face and body. There is only a certain amount you can do to make them more beautiful. But there is very much more that you can do to make your mind more beautiful.
He dedicates his book to achieve that goal. It contains lots of useful advice on how become a better communicator so that others can appreciate the beauty of your mind. He talks about how to agree, disagree, differ, be interesting, respond, listen, and ask questions.
He also explains the concept of parallel thinking, or what he calls the Six Thinking Hats. These are effective tools for group discussions and individual thinking.
Amongst many topics he discusses are what roles emotions and feelings play in discussions, what to do when the discussion diverges and goes off-course, the difference between information and knowledge, how to deal with opinions, interruptions, different attitudes, and how to start a conversation.
No real change can happen without thinking, and without convincing others with our ideas. And convincing others doesn’t happen if we are not good communicators. Therefore, good thinking and effective communication have to go side by side in order to get the attention of others about our ideas. Our ideas have to be delivered in a beatiful way so that others can appreciate and be influenced by them.