Can changing your thinking really change your life? Consider this: successful people are all alike in one way: how they think! That is the one thing that separates the successful from the unsuccessful.

The good news is that it’s possible to learn how to think like a successful person. But before we can learn from a good thinker, we need to know what they look like.  You often hear someone say that a colleague or friend is a “good thinker,” but that phrase means something different to everyone.  To one person it may mean having a high IQ, while to another it could mean knowing a bunch of trivia or being able to figure out whodunit when reading a mystery novel.

I believe that good thinking isn’t just one thing.  It consists of several specific thinking skills.  Becoming a good thinker means developing those skills to the best of your ability.  In Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras describe what it means to be a visionary company, the kind of company that epitomizes the pinnacle of American business.  They describe it this way:

A visionary company is like a great work of art.  Think of Michelangelo’s scenes from Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or his statue of David.  Think of a great and enduring novel like Huckleberry Finn or Crime and Punishment.  Think of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or Shakespeare’s Henry V.  Think of a beautifully designed building, like the masterpieces of Frank Lloyd Wright or Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.  You can’t point to any one single item that makes the whole thing work; it’s the entire work—all the pieces working together to create an overall effect—that leads to enduring greatness.

Good thinking is similar.  You need all the thinking “pieces” to become the kind of person who can achieve great things.

The biggest lesson I have ever learned is the stupendous importance of what we think. If I knew what you think, I would know what you are, for your thoughts make you what you are; by changing our thoughts, we can change our lives. ~ Dale Carnegie

The mind moves in the direction of our currently dominant thoughts. ~ Earl Nightingale

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