The quality of everything that we do as human beings depends upon the thinking that goes with it. There is always thinking, and that is not necessarily conscious thought, but there is always thought which precedes, surrounds and follows everything we humans do. Therefore it follows that the quality of that thought will significantly impact the quality of the actions.
There are several well known quotes attributed to Einstein about thought. He said that we couldn’t solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them in the first place and he also defined insanity (totally illogical thought) as repeatedly doing the same thing while expecting different results.
So what do I mean by thinking at a higher level?
What I mean when I use that expression is the ability to see a situation from a different perspective than we did yesterday. Hopefully from a position that is in some way more helpful, more useful. It is not a question of being right, rather than wrong. There is no right and there is no wrong, there are only choices after all, and there may be more useful choices.
Thinking at a higher level isn’t about being more intelligent, although it might be about being better informed.
In trying to think at a higher level there is a natural challenge. We are not, individually, in a good position to challenge our own thinking. Because we only know what we know, we can only challenge our thinking to the extent of what we already know, and that therefore is not much of a challenge, more a reordering or reorganisation.
We do not know what we don’t know, and so what we don’t know is beyond our reach as isolated individuals. To access what we don’t know there has to be some outside influence to catalyse a different thought pattern and different connections.
We have to find a way to introduce a different perspective, perhaps from another party or parties. It is not necessarily that the other party knows more than you do, or has more experience than you do. The biggest factor may be that the other person simply isn’t you, and therefore automatically and naturally brings a different perspective. If that perspective is useful then the end result will be to start thinking at a different level. I
f that other party has the skills, the attention and the intention to catalyse your own thinking then you can reliably and usefully start to think at a higher level, and hopefully perform at a higher level.