Maybe you have heard or seen the acronym before, but today I would like to discuss why should you THINK before you speak. There are many obvious answers to this such as keeping yourself out of trouble or respecting those around you. Today though, I will share with you some in depth perspectives to help reinforce this concept and its importance.
What is THINK?
THINK is an acronym to help you create a more mindful approach to speaking what is on your mind. Following this approach will help you to lead a better life as it is a much kinder and more considerate path to walk. This in turn will help you improve upon your various different relationships with others throughout your life.
As you can see, the purpose of this is to slow down our reactions to allow ourselves a moment to think about and say the right things. All too often the first words we speak in reaction to something may not even be aligned with our core values. Taking that moment to THINK first and speak second can make all the difference in the world.
One of ancient Greece’s great philosophers had another great perspective on this concept and called it his “Test of Three.” The story goes as follows:
“One day a man came up to Socrates exclaiming that he had just heard something about one of his students.
Before the man could go on, Socrates demanded that he pass the Test of Three before he could tell him the information.
The first test was one of Truth. Socrates asked the man if what he wanted to tell him was absolutely true. The man replied that he had only heard about it and was not a witness to it.
The second test was one of Goodness. He asked the man if what he wanted to tell him was something good. The man replied that no it wasn’t.
At this point the man was a little embarrassed, especially when Socrates stated, “So you want to tell me something bad about my student that you don’t know is true?” The man was now fully embarrassed and didn’t know what to say.
Socrates looked at him and said that there was still a third test and maybe he could pass that. The third test was one of Usefulness. He asked the man, “Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?
The man once again could not answer that with a positive and stated that no he couldn’t say that.
Socrates then responded, “If what you want to tell me is not True, Good or useful, then why tell it to me at all?”
This is basically just another way to think about the things that we say and do much akin to the acronym of THINK. All too often, we find ourselves spreading various rumors and gossip that we have no idea whether it is true or not. This can obviously lead to a lot of pain for everyone involved.
Probably the biggest key value in this situation is Patience, followed closely by Mindfulness. First before we discuss these two terms, let’s see how they are defined at Dictionary.com:
When it comes to patience and speaking, that is the heart of THINK. Establishing that moment of patience allows you to collect your thoughts and to also make sure that they are aligned with your values. Doing this also allows you to be the person that you want to be, as the moment of thought and alignment allows you to present yourself in a much more positive fashion.
I have also found that people I am speaking with tend to appreciate that moment of patience as well. It shows that you truly are listening to them and thinking about how to respond. This in turn shows a lot of respect and most people I know always appreciate that.
As for mindfulness, you can see my post dedicated to it here. However, I will highlight some of the keys here in relation to this topic.
- Focusing on the Present.
- Not judging now as it happens.
The core of mindfulness is to help keep you grounded in the present moment and not living in the past or worrying about the future. Living in the present moment is vastly important in our lives as this is where our reality is. The Past is gone, the Future is always ahead of us, but right Now is where we are and it is best to live in that moment.
The next thing is here to learn how to hold onto your judgements until you can take the proper amount of time needed to think about the particular situation. This allows you the time needed to see the bigger picture of the situation, see perspectives of others involved and then you can make a judgement that is much more applicable to what is really going on.
THINK is Supportive of Growth
We all incarnate on this world to learn and grow. By applying THINK to your life and making it a habit, you will see a lot of positive growth in your life. Friction with other people will be reduced and more friendships will be had. Also, you will find that people will more often respect and value your opinion!
Another way of looking at this perspective is the old saying that you cannot judge a book by it’s cover. By following this process, it is a lot like reading the book and then making your judgements on it. You have read all of the pages and gathered the information pertinent to the situation and can now make an educated decision.
I also wrote recently about how stereotypes can affect our thoughts to the extent of pulling us away from our values. Again though, by applying THINK as a part of your every day life you will offset the effect that stereotypes have on your thought process. This again helps to keep you aligned with the life that you want to live and helps you to grow closer to the person you want to be.
An Example from My Life
Just yesterday I was faced with a situation where by using THINK I was able to solve an issue that I had at work for a customer. Their billing had gotten messed up and the computer system had gone down a path that just didn’t make any common sense. After some discussion with the client and taking a more in depth look at things I had to call customer care to get it fixed.
It wasn’t long into the conversation with customer care that I realized that they were going to stick with what the computer did even though it did not make any sense. I could feel the tension and anxiety of the moment building and I knew that allowing them to control my actions and speech would not get the end results that my customer and I needed.
I took deep breaths at times to help me retain my focus and before I blurted out words I took a moment to compose my thoughts. This allowed me to have a rational conversation without getting flagged in any way that would prevent getting the situation resolved. I was thankful for this as a couple of times I got to the brink losing my cool.
As the situation was elevated to management, I again was able to keep calm and provide our story in a way that made sense and did so respectfully. This helped keep defenses from being thrown up in my path and allowed me to work with them to find the resolution that was correct for the customer.
When that call was over, almost an hour later, I was ecstatic for many reasons. First off, I had kept my cool through a challenging situation by practicing the THINK method. Secondly, I was able to get a proper fix for a customer that made common sense. The best part though, is when I got a call from the customer later in the day to thank me for everything that I had done for them.
Share Your Thoughts or Story
Before I go I would like to invite you to share your thoughts about the subject or if you have a story that could help to show us some more perspective. The more perspective we have on the subject the more we can learn, so please let us know how you feel!
Before you go though, I would invite you to read some other articles that I have shared here that are closely related to this topic.
- Mindfulness – Why it is Important
- How Stereotypes Affect Our Subliminal Perception
- Book Review – Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
- How to Be Happy in Life – The Power of Living with Intent
- How One Person Can Make a Difference
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have some fresh new perspective on life and hope to see you stop by again.
James W D