High quality v low quality thinking

Do you notice that sometimes your thinking is really clear and you feel really good? And then other times your thinking is
really fuzzy and, quite frankly, it doesn’t feel good at all? These can be termed high quality and low quality thinking.
Everyone I know gets caught up in low quality thinking – including me! That’s because we’re just human. But we do our
best work when we are in high quality thinking. Remaining in high quality thinking enables people to have easier working
(and personal) relationships and be more highly effective in their work more of the time. It’s so easy to get caught up in low
quality thinking, so how do we get into and stay in high quality thinking?

The first step is to recognise the difference between the two. When people think about it they can recognise the difference
immediately. I bet you know the difference now that you come to think of it. The table below gives some of the common
characteristics that indicate the difference between low and high quality thinking:

High Quality Thinking

  • Clarity of thought
  • Feeling calm, content, general sense of wellbeing even in difficult situations
  • Takes an optimistic view, generally have a positive  view of life
  • Accepting of self and others
  • Thoughtful of others in your actions and words so you say and do the right thing
  • Healthy for relationships
  • Overall feels natural and good

Low Quality Thinking

  • Thinking is unclear, foggy and can go round and round in circles
  • Feeling stressful, anger, jealousy, hatred, depression
  • Takes a pessimistic view, things tend to look negative
  • Judgemental or critical of self and others
  • Say and do things that you regret later
  • Damaging to relationships
  • Overall doesn’t feel natural or good

Young children fall in and out of low and high quality thinking in an instant. Observe a very young child having a tantrum,
which is clear evidence of low quality thinking. A few minutes later (sometimes longer!) the tantrum stops and they are as
‘happy as larry’! Tantrum completely forgotten. As we get older somehow we get really good at getting entrenched in our
low quality thinking and less good at staying in high quality thinking.

So how do we stay in high quality thinking more of the time? For many people just knowing the difference between the two
is a first step to doing this. People start to observe their own thinking and notice the difference.

Where is your thinking at the moment? How does your thinking make you feel at the moment?

If you were in low quality thinking, just the fact that you have noticed it is a moment of high quality thinking. When you
notice you are in low quality thinking you can give yourself some space. Don’t make that decision or say what you are just
about to say. Wait a while. Wait for a period of high quality thinking time. I find that what I so urgently need to say when I
am in low quality thinking becomes totally not the thing to say when I’m in high quality thinking. And if you start berating
yourself for being in low quality thinking – STOP! STOP RIGHT NOW! That is still low quality thinking!

Remember also to notice when you are in high quality thinking. How did you get there? Sometimes it just happened didn’t
it? Sometimes something has happened which has resulted in the switch. It could have been going for a walk, getting a
coffee, looking out of the window, focussing on something else, choosing to take a different view.

So for the next few days I invite you to observe your thinking. Ask yourself periodically whether you are in low or high quality
thinking. And notice how it feels. Most of all just enjoy being curious about your thinking and see where that takes you.
And if you would like some help with your thinking then do contact us. www.meridianiliffe.co.uk

This entry was posted on May 10, 2016

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