Six curious little things you need to know if you want to master the art of clear thinking

Alex Mathers


Is clear thinking even attainable?

What even is ‘clear thinking,’ buddy?

Put simply, it’s using that clever little noggin of yours without overwhelming it with thoughts.

When our minds entertain a lower volume of thoughts, we do better. We think more effectively and creatively.

You’ll know what this is like when you’ve had a conversation, and the words just pour out effortlessly. Or you’ve been in what many call a state of ‘creative flow.’

Maybe you were painting or writing, and there was an absence of resistance and an amplification of creative expression.

I’m always looking to reduce foggy thinking to perform better and feel happier.

Here are some of the most helpful pieces of insight about clear thinking that ensure I enjoy more of it:

Clear thinking happens when we jump around in our thoughts less.

In truth, we’re always thinking clearly at any given moment. But if we entertain fifty thoughts a minute, we’re muddy overall.

So, to jump less, we need to get deeply intimate with the idea that doing so is not productive.

Thinking can be addictive, just like eating can be addictive. You must understand the importance of eating less to avoid getting too fat.

It requires assertive action, just as not thinking so much requires actively thinking less and doing more.

Clear thinking requires self-compassion.

Self-compassion isn’t something that bubbles up when you wrinkle your brow and try to be compassionate.

Self-compassion — and all the benefits of genuinely supporting yourself — is the absence of self-criticism.

When we feel particularly down on ourselves, steeped in regret, or frustrated, we often think doubtful thoughts about ourselves.

This comes from a need to do better, and that’s understandable. But clear thinking goes out the window.