What you’ll learn in this Multiplier Mindset blog post:
- The way of thinking that will set you apart.
- How to always make the best decisions.
- A more effective way to reach your goals.
The following is an excerpt from the book Thinking About Your Thinking by Dan Sullivan.
It started in 1950 when I was six years old, wandering the fields and woods of our family farm in northern Ohio. I was allowed to go pretty much wherever I wanted to go on the property, as long as I was accompanied by the family dog. One day, I suddenly realized that I could think about my thinking.
I remember it, more than 70 years later, as watching my brain jump from one thought to another, and getting new ideas as a result. It was enormously energizing and intriguing because I had come upon a secret world inside my own mind. In the dimension where I could think about my thinking, there was a tremendous sense of safety and connection. Rather than feeling like things were just happening to me, I felt like I was happening to me.
Suddenly watching my brain create.
I realized that I had an ability, a secret place I could go, where my own thinking, inside of me, was as intriguing and stimulating as anything I was discovering outside of myself.
It felt good to be an observer of my own thinking, to pop out and become a spectator, not of what I was doing, but of how I was using my brain. And it was going through this experience that led me to becoming interested in other people’s thinking.
It allowed me to send my thinking farther afield than before Thinking About Your Thinking and to return to thoughts I’d had in previous days, as though watching a movie I could rewind at will. And ever since I first discovered this ability, it’s been something I can use whenever I feel down. I ask myself what I’m thinking about, and it always turns out that it’s not things that are happening to me that are getting me down, but how I’m thinking about things.
Enormously energizing discovery.
I was out alone in the fields and woods, but this thinking discovery somehow made me feel enormously connected and energized. I didn’t want to ever stop experiencing this amazing new world.
I knew from early on that what I’d tapped into by being able to think about my thinking was an amazing power. I felt like I’d suddenly discovered a whole extra set of rooms hidden behind the ones where I lived. It was like finding a secret dimension.
And I was going to take advantage of having a lot of opportunity to return to that world where I was the observer of my own thinking.
The first experience was exhilarating but then disappeared. Weeks later, it came again, exciting as before, and—poof!—gone. I had discovered a secret world to which only I could enter, and I loved it there. What’s more, I recognized even at that early age what a power it was to be able to go to this place and think about my thinking.
Now, practically as soon as I’d discovered that this place and this ability existed, I was experiencing the profound frustration of not being able to bring on the experience whenever I wanted to. In other words, I knew it was there and that it was amazing, but I could not come and go as I pleased. A dozen more times came and went. Then, out of frustration, I learned the trick of having it come when I wanted.
“What am I thinking about right now?”
It was six months into this fascinating series of experiences that I finally had the breakthrough. I asked myself, “What am I thinking about right now?” and as soon as I answered, I could do magic. Just like that, I was observing myself thinking.
Just by asking this one simple question, I could transport myself so that I could see things differently. I was able to take myself out of an experience, and after a few minutes, whatever I had been feeling would go away. I started to see a separation between what was actually happening and how I was thinking about what was happening. I could watch what my brain was doing and change how I thought about things.
Our thinking nature and emotional nature are not always in sync, and I’ve found that when I feel bothered by something, it’s because my thinking and my emotions aren’t integrated. But when I snap into thinking about my thinking, I can make sense of how I’m feeling in a way that I can’t when I’m caught up in the experience.
As humans, I believe we develop our intellect to make sense of our emotions—to be able to step back and examine why we’re feeling the way we’re feeling.
Thinking About Your Thinking
70 years’ deepening and expanding. This metacognitive capability is a permanent one. It’s been a part of my life since I first developed it at that young age. And while I don’t think I ever ran into anyone else who had this ability before I left home, I did become increasingly interested in engaging with other people who were able to think about their own thinking.
Since 1950, I’ve lived increasingly more of my life inside of this single extraordinary ability. I’ve kept getting better at it, mastering it for myself, and now creating hundreds of ways for others to think about their thinking.
It was around the age of 19 or 20 when I embarked on the next stage of having this skill, which was to find other people who could do it, or to teach other people how to do it. And in my entrepreneurial life, which began when I was 30, I’ve made a living using this capability of asking people the right questions to prompt them to think about their thinking in a way they never have before so they can experience breakthroughs and take action to achieve their goals.
Not a typical way of thinking.
This isn’t something that’s typically taught. Instead, most education involves thinking about other people’s thinking. But when you’re thinking about your own thinking, you’re in a space where there’s no competition, no concerns about status or about time slipping by, and no feeling of scarcity. It’s a radically different world free from jealousy, envy, resentment, and anxiety.
And as I got older, I saw that this ability could lead to transformation.
The process of exploring your own mental boundaries and building strength within yourself through clear thought is both exciting and rewarding, no matter your age. Download my book Thinking About Your Thinking today to start strengthening your own mind.