HIGHER LEVEL, EXPANSIVE, CREATIVE, VALUE PRODUCING THINKING
THE GATEWAY TO ALL YOU WANT IN LIFE
Thinking is the use of the ability to use knowledge to create results.
If you wonder why you haven't succeeded much or as fast as you wanted to or why others succeed so highly, the key lies here (except for luck or a super-talent athlete). If you've not succeeded at the level you want, you just didn't do the necessary higher level thinking, you stayed in amateur thinking or stopped at "expert thinking" (doing thinking well and rationally, but stopping there) and not true high level thinking. You can't succeed at a truly higher level without that thinking. Yes, you'll do pretty well with "expert thinking", but you'll be assisting someone else rather than operating at the top level of your personal power. (See Be An Expert Thinker - Don't
By "success", I mean "life success". If you aren't having the greatest life, it is because you are still engaged in "lower level thinking" (aka "lower order thinking) and too much non-thinking, with little higher level thinking. Higher level thinking guarantees your success, as it leaves nothing to chance and you yourself assure that you are living the greatest life at a powerful level - it is not left up to chance, circumstance, or having to depend on being rescued.
While the prototypical high level thinker will use the normal problem solving process (and some forms or prompters), he will use it for moving forward rather than just mechanically solving something wrong. He is careful to avoid the thinking of an amateur so he pushes through to assure facts and rational thinking are fully in place. He pushes higher and higher compared to the passive thinkers (who, of course, don't go anywhere).
The high level thinker is always looking for what needs to be fixed, what is going right or wrong, opportunities, models of how things work better, messes to clean up. The most aggressive might use The Life Improvement Journal approach daily.
He insists on results, not intellectual or incomplete actions going nowhere. He does not get stuck in hesitancy or uncertainty/doubt and waffle all around on a decision.
He only makes decisions in context to what is most important, he holds things "in perspective" and from a "higher perspective", doesn't just go off and do something that seems urgent right now or exciting or strikes his interest or would be nice to do... While he gets "down into the weeds" to get the details done, he makes sure that he has scheduled times that prompt him to look at things from a higher perspective.
He quickly assimilates what he can do better to understand, organizes the information and understanding and what to do, he keeps track of it, systematizes it (often, whenever he notices anything not producing the right result!), he makes it easier and better, and figures out and explores better ways to produce more value.
He can make quick decisions wherever feasible (while assuring he is operating at the level of key factors being, also, well-considered in terms of tradeoffs of time and risk and benefit). He sees things from a higher perspective, knows what is unimportant and not critical,filters out the irrelevant, isolates what is less important that might need to be traded off. . (See The Mattress Decision for an example. This looks simple, but notice the thinking process, the simplifying, and how the decision is made.) He uses his energy only in the super power quadrant of life (Quadrant II) so he is as effective as if he actually had a "superpower". He spends no time "fire fighting" because he proactively assures fire prevention. He always stays on the high value path... He spends alot of time thinking, much like Warren Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger, and all highly powerful successful men/women.
He assesses periodically in even more depth, but is always assessing what could be done better, produce more value, prevent problems.
He rises to a higher perspective so he can see the big picture and is not stuck down in the weeds playing "small ball" (a small game)...or failing to see the "big picture".
This is a person who keeps himself in Quadrant II almost all the time, uses the idea of what's best not just what is "of some value". He will not settle for low value results or thinking that doesn't work.
WHAT ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS?
Where do relationships fall on this spectrum? Will a person be like Sam Walton, who regretted not relating to his family enough or Bill Walsh who was so stuck in hypercriticalness of himself that he had no time or energy left to relate to his son?
Well, no high level perspective thinker would make that mistake, as he would be looking to see how things are working and be aware of what works and what is more important. He will always be looking at the "marginal return" of what he does and knows what is of value in life - and be sure to take care of them, trading some lower value item (such as making more money) off to get what he knows is of higher value. Those two great achievers didn't go up to the higher level perspective....
The value of relationships is very, very high and failing to recognize the human benefit to you, and your life, is a major mistake. Often, we have poor standards related to relationships and their value, so we treat the time in them as if they were expendable when we need more time for work or some other activity.
He doeosn't just do the mechanical in a job, he innovates, raises things to a higher level. He doesn't stay at the level of a manager (who moves things around and seeks efficiency) but rises to a higher value creativity level, which can dramatically increase his compensation - since compensation is based on value created.
But what we are focused on here is our personal life and life success. Indeed, the higher thinker gains "high compensation" in terms of life value, so that he lives a personally rich life. If a person is living a life of stress and/or anxiety, he is living a low level of life and, easily inferred, not engaging in high level thinking (even if he thinks he is, as the test for high level thinking having been done is to see that there are excellent resutls).
Some people believe they are capable of this level but few actually do it, other than maybe a foray here and there. The high level thinker is engaged in this every day, always thinking progressively, not falling for the thinking errors and distortions, and assuring that only high level results are occurring.
The final test, I repeat, lies in the level of excellence and value of the results!
How does the mundaneness of every day life fit in the value quadrant
WHAT TO DO WITH THIS
Copy off those questions and put them in a place where you can find them during your "thinking sessions" where you are focusing on creating much greater value. (Spend some time using your higher level thinking to add or delete questions that you think would be useful for you. I may modify these questions later, but they are sufficient to get you started.)
And then do a session as soon as you can, asking those questions and then implementing the answers (decisions)!!! ASAP, not "later".
Note that this not only applies to business and life, but any endeavor you have in life. Accordingly, you would have such sessions with your spouse/partner - and, believe it or not, with your kids all together, and then with each of them individually, assuming they are over 3 years old.
While you can do these right now at a certain level, you should be sure to assure that you have at least become an Expert Rational Thinker, who has eliminated the thinking errors!!!
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THIS
When I entered the field of (real) financial planning, I interviewed beforehand the successful financial planners, especially the ones who were good at marketing.
I entered the profession already with a class set up (for people interested in personal financial planning), which I had to postpone a week because I was not yet licensed.
I vowed to be Rookie Of The Month 6 times during the year, but only got it 5 times, getting the top of all financial "executives" the 12th month and went to the top of the company, breaking all volume records in the 3rd year.
I, luckily, hired a truly great assistant (who rose to junior partner status when I opened my own company) who was sure to have me schedule a planning and marketing session to see how we could create an even better future. We always did a yearly plan, which was also summary overviewed on one page (here's a personal one).
The practice of getting up to the higher thinking level had me growing and even doing a few things that were relatively intimidating at the time, where there was no guarantee that the moves would be successful.
Unfortunately, I didn't quite apply the higher level thinking to my entire life and stay in perspective and balance, so I ended up being an overachiever in business and only fair at life. You will note however in my "About" page, the "growth" classes I did take - and they did make a difference, thank goodness!!!