Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 93 of 154 
Next page End Contents 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98  

confused intelligence with thinking; one can have a very powerful
computer but not use it accurately or effectively. High intelligence
poses other traps: since he/she can defend almost any opinion, such
as person may not carefully explore the issue before making a
pronouncement (and, thus, be a poor thinker). Also, very intelligent
people find they get recognition by quickly and cleverly criticizing
another person. If they stop there, little constructive thinking is
accomplished. An intelligent person, who wants to maintain a
reputation, hates to be wrong. Therefore, they resist admitting being
wrong and changing their minds, which is not good thinking. In the
same way, a fear of being wrong may inhibit them from considering
and advancing new, tentative ideas. When an intelligent person reads
this method, I suspect he/she will conclude that his/her thinking has
several flaws (no matter how big his/her computer is). Brains aren't
enough. de Bono says, "good thinkers aren't born, they're made." 
It ain't so much the things we didn't know that get us into trouble. It's the things we know
that just ain't so.
-Artemus Ward
The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
-William James
The first focus of this method is on common ways we get our facts
wrong or think illogically. Many of my examples come from a 40-year-
old book by Stuart Chase (1956) and more recent books by McMullin
(1986, pp. 256-266) and Nezu and Nezu (1989). Several types of false
reasoning will be described briefly in hopes you will recognize your
own illogical thinking. (This is just wishful thinking unless you take the
time to seriously question and analyze your specific thoughts and
conclusions.) The first four methods in this chapter have already
covered many harmful ideas and beliefs. 
The second brief focus within this method is on reducing the
disruptive emotions that derail our rational thinking. Several other
chapters cover emotions well. Gilovich (1991) deals in depth with
"How We Know What Isn't So." For instance, Gilovich asks if self-
handicapping ("I was partying and didn't study for this exam") is to
deceive others or ourselves. Actually, other people don't tend to
believe that you didn't study. Your real purpose seems to be to avoid
learning how able or unable you really are. 
The third focus of this section is on increasing the effectiveness of
our intuitive, experience-based mind. Reading and logic will not help
much here; you will need new experiences. 
Previous page Top Next page

« Back