making it count

~ Article written by Shawn Dwyer and L. Michael Hall PhD ~

There is “thinking,” and then there is real thinking. 

Most thinking is System-1 thinking- the fast thinking of Kahneman which is automatic, easy, inevitable, and without effort. You do this kind of “thinking” whether you want to or not. It operates from the lower levels and functions of your brain.  Here you are on automatic. Kahneman says that real thinking involves cognitive effort, even strain. It is the kind of thinking that requires choice and intention. So Daniel Kahneman also notes that when you opt for the path of least resistance, you are actually let your meta-cognitive powers go wimp. When I read that- I got several ideas about wimpy meta-cognitive powers.

Now your meta-cognitive powers are your higher executive thinking powers- considering, questioning, exploring, doubting, explaining, reasoning, creating, inventing, synthesizing, systematizing, etc. These are your powers or functions above and about other cognitive powers.

1) Wimpy meta-cognitive powers means you are highly limited in “running your own brain.”

To “run your own brain” you have to “go meta” to your thinking and to your emoting. You have to transcend the primary state so that you can observe your thinking, monitor your thinking, learn about the way you think, the ecology of your thoughts, meta-model your linguistic expressions, etc. When you can do all of that, then you can choose the best thoughts and beliefs.

2) Wimpy meta-cognitive powers means you struggle to govern your attentions with your intentions.

At the primary state these are your attentions- what you pay attention to and unless you set higher intentions, you will live attentionally. Then you will be a pawn of social media, of advertisements, of TV, of political correctness, etc.

3) Wimpy meta-cognitive powers means you will struggle in making high quality decisions. 

The only “decisions” at the primary state of fast thinking is your automatic programs- pleasure, short-term values, what looks good, etc. To truly decide and to be a informed and skilled decision maker, you have to access your conative powers- which are part of meta-cognition.

4) Wimpy meta-cognitive powers means you probably struggle with your sense of self, personhood, and “being.” 

A rich, robust, and strong sense of self arises as a concept that you build with your best thinking. What’s automatic are the programs you experienced form your parents and peer groups. And that probably means that you have constructed a conditional self-value, one dependent on various things.

5) Wimpy meta-cognitive powers means you avoid real thinking, and default to what others have thought, and to being politically correct. 

This describes the life of a slave, not a free person. You are defaulting to the easy and fast thinking. To get approval.

6) Wimpy meta-cognitive powers may mean you fear real thinking. 

And why would you fear thinking? Because you don’t know what it will bring up, where it will take you. So you opt for that status quo and to keep confirming your present biases. Without developing your meta-cognitive powers, you may even fear thinking. “You better be careful, you think too much!”

Your executive thinking (which you can develop as skills) are those that arise in your neo-cortex and in your pre-frontal lobes. These are the powers that enable you to be executive of your own life. Without developing these, you are a pawn, a worker in your own factory, a non-voting member of your union, a slave on your on plantation, a citizen of a country without a government, a choir member without a conductor. Now let’s say that you discover that your meta-cognitive powers are wimpy, under-developed, now what?  Get a cognitive make-over. Discover your executive thinking patterns and develop them today through The Coaching Centre.

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