From a very young age, we are taught what to think.
Whether that is line with culture, tradition or religion.
What to think about a certain country, race or political affiliation.
What to think about a certain sexual orientation.
What to think about a certain problem or issue (social, moral, economical etc).
We are influenced by our communities and peers on what to think (hence we all have similar thinking and problem-solving skills).
We are told what to do and what not to do by pretty much everyone, mostly grounded in religious morality and the accepted norms of a group.
We learn it from our elders and then pass that onto our children. Monkey, after all, does what the monkey sees.
This behaviour, unfortunately, needs to be untrained. This needs to be unlearnt. Although, it can create desirable short term results but it is detrimental in the long run.
I see this in my own home where we, unconsciously (having noble intentions), tell our 3 years old what to do, what not to do, how to act and how not to act.
The important thing to teach ourselves and our children is HOW to think. That is the key to success in life and of communities.
We must encourage people (big or small) to become problem solvers by not solving their problems for them but instead asking them how they think is the best way to solve a problem and then letting their imagination run wild. By asking the right questions that encourage analytical and critical thinking – at whatever level that might be for them. Questions that make them reconsider their course of action. Questions that can help them engage in a meaningful conversation.
Don’t just tell people what to do but show them how to do it and most importantly, explain to them why to do it.
We often just look for the answer, the solution, the punch line. We want to get ahead and not deal with the method of arriving at that answer. It is this kind of thinking that produces shallow results and mediocre futures.
It is the ‘what to think vs how to think’ approach to life.
You cannot appreciate the solution in any meaningful way if you don’t journey through the method of finding it out and achieving it.