Brave Thinking

Brave Thinking 150 150 Ben Coker

Brave Thinking

You know that ‘voice’ inside your head?

You know, the one who never stops ‘talking’.

Well the thing is . . . and this may be a bit scary –

There are a whole bunch of them, continuously debating.

What’s right and what’s not right, what to do next and what not to do, why and why not. ‘Oh no you can’t’, ‘Oh yes you can’, and so on . . . and on.

The trouble is.

They all sound the same, they all sound like your voice, they all claim to be you.

You and I are constantly besieged by doubts and fears, by hopes and longings, by likes and dislikes and by what we ‘think’ we can do and what we ‘think’ we can’t do.

And a whole lot more – going on all the time.

So how do you and I make ‘sense’ of all this – because if we didn’t we’d cease to function effectively.

Most people think there is just one voice and some people call this a ‘conscience’ or the voice that keeps them ‘on track’; stops them doing things they shouldn’t do.

Many people have a concept of two voices. A ‘good cop, bad cop’ mentality where one voice argues for what is ‘good’ and the other for what is not; in whatever context is relevant at the time.

But unlike a parliamentary debate, there’s no vote. It’s a one on one contest, neither ‘voice’ can ‘win’ and if this were the case you or I would never be able to make a decision.

But people do, because they are ‘trained’ to make decisions not based on real thought, but purely on circumstances.

So there has to be a third party, a third voice; but one with the power to decide, one with the ability to dismiss or accept what the others are saying.

One voice to take you and I forward.

But often, most people, including you and I, don’t use this voice to its full potential.

You see . . .

The tendency is to make decisions rapidly, for ideas to crop up followed by a ‘quick discussion’ in the head and a course of action taken.

Usually one of three:

  • Do nothing
  • Go back and check out all the detail (continue the debate), or
  • ‘Just do it’.

Sometimes what you and I decide to do works out well, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes things remain pretty much the same.

Here’s where you and I need to exercise ‘Brave Thinking’*.

There are three steps:

First of all, you and I must develop the ability to ‘observe’ – as the ‘third voice’, what is actually going on.

In our minds, step back and recognize what we are feeling and what stimuli are acting upon us, notice what we are noticing and what we are thinking (what those other two voices are ‘saying’) – and do it actively.

Ask ‘who is it in me that can notice my body but is not my body, who is it in me that can notice my thoughts?’ and actively ‘listen’ to what those voices are saying.

And, pay attention to the ideas that come to you. They come to your ‘third’ voice, let it hold the idea while the other two discuss it, and beware of what they throw up – obligations, fears, insecurities, paradigms and conventions.

The second element of brave thinking is to notice, pay attention to and contrast your longings and your discontents. Keep these in mind while the debate is going on and make sure that the decision you (the third mind) make is consistent with these.

But remember – to take a step is a risk, not to take a step may be an even greater risk.

Successful people take risks because they are consistent with their longings or discontents

Thirdly keep in mind your vision of what you would love to be, do and have.

If you could be, do or have anything what would you love?

Build a vision you are in love with and build your relationship with that vision.

Factor this into your brave thinking, your observation of what is going on in your mind, the influences acting upon you and the circumstances in which you find yourself

Make your decisions accordingly.

Think bravely and have a great week.

*’Brave Thinking’ is an idea developed by Mary Morrissey