Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Thinker

thinker How does a treeline form? I’m looking at the trees surrounding my kids’ school, and the tops form a fairly smooth line. You would think, with the wide variety of trees, it would be more uneven and choppy at the top. Instead, the line itself rises and falls in a series of shallow undulating waves, with all the trees right next to each other coming up to approximately the same height.

I wonder if it has to do with the amount of sunlight available to the leaves. Maybe once the tree grows to the height of the surrounding trees, it no longer has to fight for sunlight. Maybe all the trees were planted at the same time, although my guess is that they were here before the school or the playground. Maybe the slope of the land affects the height of the trees, since it might affect how much water is collected in each place.

I’m always thinking. It’s like the little “why” that started when I was a little girl never died. Usually I think about people or relationships or problems. Sometimes my husband will ask me what I’m thinking, and I’m embarrassed to say what’s really on my mind, either because it’s too mundane or too bizarre.

Maxwell's bookJohn C. Maxwell advocates “think time” in his book, “How Successful People Think: Change your Thinking, Change your Life.” I think the idea is spectacular, although I’ve never found a good way to implement it. The idea is to schedule times during your day, week, and year to problem solve, plan for the future, and imagine the possibilities- both in your personal life and in your career. If we think before we make decisions, considering the possibilities and consequences first, we have a better chance of being successful. Without thought, actions are primarily reactions, and vision and goals go out the window.

I’ve heard it said that humans use only ten percent of their total brain capacity. Such statements have led to science fiction stories surrounding ESP and telekinesis. I’m not sure how that works, although it would be nice to have such abilities. I do believe that envisioning yourself being successful at something increases your chances of doing well. I believe a good attitude can help heal your body. I believe evaluating your past choices leads to better decisions in the future.

The biggest problem with thinking, however, is the difficulty in recording the good thoughts, especially when they may occur in the middle of the night, or in the shower, or when you’re driving.

If only thinking burned more calories… I’ll have to think more about that later.

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