So what do I do? How on earth do I learn to think and learn to stop thinking?
Well firstly, you have got to want to!
Reading this will not change you.
Doing as I have done, and spending years and $1000’s on books and course and materials won’t change you.
To change you have to do some work on yourself – test and experiment and engage with change processes. You have to be prepared to let go of old ways of being, thinking and behaving.
In my experience, the vast majority of people who say they want to change don’t change.
Most people reading this won’t change because they don’t really want to change.
They may on the surface – consciously – believe that they want to change, but there is usually another hidden belief or assumption that will resist their apparent desire to change.
Most of us are so attached to how we are – at an unconscious level we feel safe with how we are (even when it so obviously isn’t working) – that in practise we would rather die than change (and we usually do).
The "knowing doing gap"
There is a "knowing doing gap", and this is: "The gap between our intentions, things we actually want to carry out, and what we are actually able to do." [Kegan - "Immunity to Change" ].
Kegan cites a dramatic and poignant illustration of the "knowing doing" gap based or recent research in the US healthcare sector:
"If you look at people who are prescribed maintenance medications, people who should take, for example, a statin drug for the rest of their lives to control blood pressure or high cholesterol and stay alive, you would assume 100pc of these people would do so, wouldn’t you?
It turns out that research carried out here in Massachusetts shows that anywhere from between a third to a half of all Americans on maintenance medications, who understand why they’re on them, don’t take them after a year."
Even more dramatically:
"Another study showed that if heart doctors tell their seriously at-risk heart patients they will literally die if they don’t change their lifestyle, only one in seven, on average, is actually able to make the changes..."
"These are the kind of stark reminders which show us that the usual explanations for why people don’t make changes are pretty weak..."
The Zen Master and the water trough
This reminds me of the story of the Zen master who was asked by a student what it took to reach enlightenment.
The Zen master grabbed the student by the scruff of the neck and held her head under water in a nearby water trough. 30 seconds later he pulled the students head up and then immediately plunged her head back under water.
This process repeated a few times until eventually the Zen master relented - whereupon he said to the gasping half drowned student: "when you seek Zen as you now seek air - THEN you will find it."
The second answer to the question of: "So how on earth do I learn to think and stop thinking?" is that you need proven tools and resources that have realistic and achievable objectives, and that is the whole point of this site.