Abraham Lincoln, one of the best thinkers the United States has produced, expanded up in a culture that held thinking in low esteem. clash of clans free gems With a frontier to tame, land to clear, and riches to claim, Lincoln felt constant stress to have out and do something. Lincoln’s father made this observation about his soon-to-be-famous son: “If Abe don’t fool away all his time on his books, he may make something yet. ” Lincoln ended up being 27 years old at the time. .
In American society right now, action often is more highly regarded than thought, doing more than being. To be called an intellectual can be deadly for an American politician.
Yet this quintessential American politician became an intellectual. He ended up being thinking all the time. In fact, we know a lot about Lincoln’s thought processes. One observer who kept a careful record of what he saw ended up being Lincoln’s private assistant, John G. Nicolay. The following is Nicolay’s observation.
“…Mr. Lincoln often resorted to your process of cumulative thought, and his constant tendency to, and great success in axiomatic definition led to a large measure from a habit he’d acquired of reducing a forcible idea or an epigrammatic sentence or phrase to writing, and keeping it until further reason enabled him to include other sentences or additional phrases to perform or supplement the first–to elaborate or to conclude his point or argument. There were lots of these scraps among his papers, seldom in the form of mere rough notes, but almost always in the shape of a finished proposition or statement–a habit showing great prudence and deliberation of thought, and evincing a corresponding strength and solidity of opinion and argument.”
(Michael Burlingame, editor, An Oral History of Abraham Lincoln: John G. Nicolay’s Intervays and Essays. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996, p. 107)
You’ll use this Lincoln technique yourself. Here’s how.
First, write it down. Over five centuries ago Sir Francis Bacon penned, “Writing maketh an exact man.”
If you are expanding your organization or creating one, worrying about an issue, planning a presentation, or making a hard choice, get the basic idea down on paper. Authors call it a rough draft. Marketers call it a story board. Code writers call it a decision tree.
In my executive coaching program, I insist that individuals write down all the options and the possible consequences before arriving at any important administrator decision.
Getting hired straight down in some recoverable format makes it easier to refine your thinking, spot logical fallacies and emotional distortions, and clear away the distractions that can cloud the thought processes.
Second, oversimplify. My writing teachers and editors taught me to state any article or guide I was writing as one concise sentence. You may not manage to see the tree as a result of the proverbial forest.
You’ll make bad decisions in the event that you allow yourself to be distracted by an excessive amount of information. Push out of your mind any detail or argument which is not absolutely strongly related the issue at hand. You must manage to focus in on the specific detail and understand it completely. To use a mathematical analogy, you must reduce the situation to its least typical denominator.
The very first time I interviewed John Portman–who created Embarcadero Center in San Francisco and the Marriott Marquis on Times Square, among other famous buildingsâ€”Portman told me that in designing a building, he relentlessly reduced the idea to its core elements. At the time I barely understood what Portman was talking aboutâ€”it sounded like jargon–but gradually I discovered that this is a characteristic of this way all great thinkers think.
Three, connect the dots. Link logical thoughts together. Itâ€™s this that Nicolay meant by “cumulative thought.” Lincoln had self-taught himself initial six books of Euclid, so he knew exactly how to construct a mathematical argument. In Lincoln’s case, he began because of the core propositionâ€””All men are created equalâ€”and developed his concept of a nation as a government of this people, by individuals, for individuals by including the essential ideas which can be congruent because of the basic, fundamental idea.
Here is the way great buildings, business enterprises, sciences, and nations are built.
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