Know that you have a choice .. grand, in what you believe in, and small, in every single act you do. This is what sets you apart from any non-thinking entity on earth.
Your thinking is mostly chatter, which is not thinking. So, for the most part, you are not thinking, even when you are actively engaged with your brain.
Thinking has a purpose. You want something, be it a desired objective or an assessment of a situation. That end must be the centre of your thinking.
This needs decisiveness. Your mind will take you on many side avenues that, on the surface, do not seem to have any relevance to your desired end. They do, but you will mostly be unable to see the links. And you do not need to. In most cases, walking down these mental avenues will lead you to chatter, will take you away from what must be the centre of your thinking: the purpose of the energy you are exerting to engage with your mind. Decisiveness makes you cut loose these extensions of thoughts that lead to these side avenues. Decisiveness makes you go back, in your mind, to the desired end.
Decisiveness brings with it clarity. It is not enough to have a vague idea about the purpose of your thinking; you must try to know as much as you can about it. Even if the purpose of the thinking is an assessment of a situation, the desired end – having a conclusion to that assessment – must be clear to you. The purpose is to reach that conclusion, not to merely engage your mind in the exercise. This clarity makes it easier to be decisive, because the more you think about the details of your desired end, the more you become decisive in not wasting time and energy in side mental avenues. Together, decisiveness and clarity form a virtuous cycle.
You can, and often must “sleep over” ideas, dilemmas, questions, decisions. That’s allowing yourself to reflect and tap into deep experiences to find inspirations, solutions, answers, and choices. But before reflecting and after it, your desired end – the aim of the thinking – must be clear to you.
With time, calmness sets in. For most people, chatter brings on different feelings. If one goes into a mental avenue full of pleasurable thoughts, one gets joy from the distraction. If the chatter leads to fears (of which we have many, in various forms), the feelings that flood the thinking process entail anxieties. Both, the joy and the anxiety, are side-tracks. At best, they waste energy. At worst, they lead to paralysis (often disguised as analysis). On the other hand, the more the virtuous cycle of decisiveness and clarity sets in, the more it becomes the way you think, the more the mind will stay with the desired end, will stay focused on the details that you delve in in your attempt to form a more comprehensive conception of that which you desire, want, or aim to arrive at from the thinking process.
Calmness adds tremendous value to the thinking process, because it conserves energy. Calm minds do not spend energy on fictitious joys and accumulated fears. Calmness shepherds the energies of the body towards the flow of the specific thinking process you are engaged in.
Do not try to force calmness. You will fail. It is a product of thinking that is decisive, clear – and sustained.
Sustained here means persevering with this form of thinking. It is not easy, because it is not how the vast majority of people are used to do when they engage with their brain .. (again, for most people, thinking is chatter). Yet, the more you persevere with this decisiveness and clarity, the more sustained your thinking about what you want out of the thinking process, the more accustomed you will become to the focus of energy entailed in correct thinking. And the more you become accustomed to having a specific flow of energy in which your thinking moves, the less energy you will exert in any thinking process – yet, the higher the return on this thinking. Basically, the more accustomed you become to this mental focus, the more normal this way of thinking becomes to you. With time, this correct way of thinking becomes your ordinary way of engaging your brain. And so, it neither triggers illusionary joys nor fall into accumulated fears. It becomes your habitual way of thinking. And herein calmness becomes a natural feature of your thinking.
Do not fall into the trap of “there is nothing called correct thinking”. There is, and it is one of the most valuable tools you must have to grow and move on. Correct thinking is that which is focused, decisive, clear, calm, and sustained.