By Deola Paul-Inyang.
Clarence Seward Darrow once said “To Think is To Differ”. The verb “to think” can be regarded as a passive action as well as a skill. The composition of every human being gives us the ability to think at various levels. Our level of thinking is what determines our skill set as well as our individual success rates.
Thinking is a life changing verb. A man without the capacity to think is dead; he has no purpose, no present and no future. Thinking has been defined by various scholars as:
Reflective and reasonable thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do. (Robert Ennis, quoted in Presseisen, p. 24).
Creative Thinking: A novel way of seeing or doing things that is characterized by four components—Fluency (generating many ideas), Flexibility (shifting perspective easily), Originality (conceiving of something new), and Elaboration (building on other ideas).
Critical Thinking: The process of determining the authenticity, accuracy, or value of something; characterized by the ability to seek reasons and alternatives, perceive the total situation, and change one’s view based on evidence. This is also called “logical” thinking and “analytical” thinking. (Definitions culled from NW Archives Regional Educational Laboratory).
Each and every one of these definitions highlights the fundamental element of differentiation.
An article on Thinking Skills written by Kathleen Coteen (November 1991) stated that in the 20th century, the ability to engage in careful reflective thought has been viewed in various ways: as a fundamental characteristic of an educated person, as a requirement for responsible citizenship in a democratic society, and, more recently as an employability for an increasingly wide range of jobs.
We are all defined by our level of thought. It doesn’t matter if we have big brains or little brains, either way we are brandished by our level or capacity to process elements around us, to the benefit or otherwise of our community.
An individual is set apart from others by his ability to conceive ideas that are built to last. It is noteworthy to characterize the concept of (creative) thinking as not only the conception of new ideas but also the establishment or reconstruction of ideas conceived by others.
The conception of ideas through creative thinking has brought about the existence of institutions that have outlived their founders. It is the very same concept that has brought to existence the very elements of life as we now know it. It is what has driven dreamers to actualization, start-ups to global influence, and third worlds to leading worlds.
A popular quote by Richard Adams says “The thinker dies, but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction. Men are mortal; but ideas are immortal.” A man who thinks is one with ideas. His ideas make the difference and last forever. High level thinking is the change we need; it is the change that ensures the positivity of tomorrow.
About the Author
Deola Paul-Inyang is Centre Director at Resource Villa International.