General Semantics Advanced Thinking
A System-Discipline Concerned with the Sanity of the Race & the Individual
Thinking about Thinking

by Milton Dawes (2003, updated December 2010, updated July 2011)

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“The world we have created is a product of our thinking.” — A. Einstein

The life I create for myself is a product of my thinking. I can improve on anything I do. This includes the way I think. If I improve the way I think, I become a more imaginative — a more creative being. When I improve the way I think, I do things differently … I do different things … I get different results. If I want things to change in my life … I have to change the way I think … about myself, about others, about the world.

When I improve the way I think, I realize how much I owe … to other travelers – present ones, and also those who went before. And when I build on what I’ve learned … I must take care … I pass on to others too.

When I improve the way I think, and look, and listen … I expand my vision. I notice more. I learn to ‘see’ from different points of viewing … Within some limits, I’m not upset with other, and others’ points of viewing. From many points of viewing, I see how often I sabotage myself …block my efforts, and create more ‘problems’ for myself than others create for me.

When I improve the way I think, I see a world of interconnections and interdependence … a world of actions and reactions … many ’causes’, many effects … and myself — a self-reflecting being in a self-reflexive world … I keep this sobering thought alive …

In this self-reflexive, interactive world, the effects of what I think, believe, fear, say, and do … have nowhere else to go … What I think, and say, and do … can do to me.

When I improve the way I think, I change the way I ‘look’ at things … A ‘problem’ could become a ‘challenge’… an answer to “Why”, one of many possible explanations … a ‘failure’, an opportunity to learn about myself, about others, about the world … a ‘mistake’, an invitation to improve.

When I improve the way I think, and change the way I talk about things, I realize I often distress myself with the things I tell myself, and the way I say what I say. Caring about the way I talk with myself, and the way I talk with others, I avoid much disagreeableness, confusions, distress, and conflicts. When I improve the way I think … I come to know that whatever I am doing, I am doing many other things at the same time … I also come to realize this: When I get what I had wished for — it comes with many other things I did not want.

If I improve the way I think, I change the way I listen and look. I become aware of patterns of change. I see a Universe of rhythms … my life a complex of many rhythms. Sensitive to rhythms, my own, others, and the world around me, I have different expectations. I expect change, and learn to better manage change. Change in myself; change in others; change in familiar situations. With conflicts … problems … stress … reduced …

I learn the art of Gentle LivingGentle Living with myself — and Living Gently with others too.

When I improve the way I think, I improve relationship with myself, and with others. I learn to learn from anyone. I learn to learn from anything. And when I find mistakes I made, instead of punishing myself … I learn to learn from my mistakes. Universe exists as my classroom. I develop an inquiring mind … I never graduate.

When I change the way I think, I realize there are more to things than what I ‘see’ … more to things than what I think … more to things than what I say. Knowing that I don’t know all … I creep to conclusions — I work at looking before I leap. I examine meanings that I gave, and many things I once believed. I also change the way I feel, things I say, and how I do the things I do. Realizing things are not what I think about them, feel about them, say they are, or wish they were, I change many expectations too.

What I think … the way I feel … what I remember and believe … what I expect … meanings I give … opinions I have … judgments I pass … plans I make … things I wish for. These are goings on in me. Goings on in the world outside … are not the same as … goings on going on in me.

It matters not how much I think, I cannot think of everything. Realizing I have left out lots, I adopt a heuristic, “Let’s see what happens” approach. I write my conclusions, expectations, judgments, and plans, with a pencil. I do not carve them out of stone. And when things don’t go the way I planned, or don’t match my expectations, or don’t support what I believe — I do not stay disappointed, angry, upset, hurt, distressed … I do not look for someone to blame. I try to understand what happened, the part I played, and lessons I could learn. And I sometimes smile and tell myself:

You’ve something new to think about … You did the best with what you ‘knew’. With information you now have — It’s up to you to change some ‘maps’ … Leave lots of space for future changes.

When I improve the way I think, I realize that what I think-feel and say about someone … about something, says quite a lot about myself — my beliefs, what I expect, values I hold, standards I accept — and especially the way I think. When I improve the way I think, I realize the things I believe, value, say, and do, the plans I make, the judgments I pass, my expectations, frustrations, impatience, hopes and fears, depend not only on what I know — but to a great deal what I do not know.

When I improve the way I think, I realize that much of what I understand, fear, believe, know, do and every judgment that I make is based not only on the information I have, but on information missed, and also on a great deal of misinformation. Not knowing, or understanding all about anything, or anyone — including me, I am aware that I live a great deal of my life based on beliefs — my beliefs, and those of others.

Depending so much on beliefs, I must be careful not to accept believing for knowing. I must not accept assumptions for facts, opinions for truths, words for what they stand for. I must not give more importance to a ‘map’ than I give to the territory that was mapped.

One way I can improve myself, or better manage myself in difficult and trying situations … one way to create more satisfying relationships … one way to improve whatever I do … one way to change, or feel satisfied with situations I am in … one way to use my intelligence more intelligently … one way I can make better use of my times … one way I might improve my little part of Universe … involves making an effort to improve the way I listen, look, understand, talk and think, about myself, about others, about situations, about the world.

General Semantics provides us with many thinking tools and evaluation standards — Tools we can use to review and improve our habitual ways of thinking about ourselves, about others, about the situations we find ourselves in, and about the world we live in.

“Hmmm … Universe works that way too.”

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