The post "Slowing down – learning how to think " at O'Reilly Network was something I related to a lot. Wanted to blog before I went to sleep and I thought I should highlight this old bookmark of mine:
Chatting with the team after losing 4-1 in round 2, I realised that saying "take your time" was worse than useless. If you tell a kid that but don't try to explain how to think during that time, they'll just stare into space for a bit before mentally coming back to the board and taking approximately two seconds over their next move!
Heather goes on to say:
I found that the best way of explaining it was to give them guidelines about how to think. Use the time to try to imagine more than one move ahead. If you think of a move that looks good, then fine – keep your hands under the table and see what you think your opponent might do in reply. This means your blunders happen in your head rather than on the board! I demonstrated what I meant by "thinking" out loud about a position from a game where half of them wanted to make one move and half of them wanted to make another. I showed them how I would go about deciding which of the moves I wanted to make.
I have found this to be very true in many aspects of life and one needs to slow one's thinking process to increase his/her chancs of success. Though Heather talks only about learning and concludes in a nice way:
The actual content is secondary to this. So instead of just showing you the right answer and the right way of doing something, we look at working out how to go about it – how to think – the bit that most books miss out. As with the chess advice, we do this with a mixture of guidelines and practical examples.
I am just extending this concept in life in a very relevant way. Don't rush to conclusions. Never get pressurised by time. Chart out multiple options. Write or blog if you feel you are thinking fast. Just the act of writing, blogging or talking or recording your thoughts aloud, will slow your thinking process. Ask for help or bounce of your friends or family. This is will give you clarity and a second chance not to rush to conclusions.
Same applies when you come across a person who is trying to show off his expertise or is trying to argue his way out. Slow him down (by asking questions), make him explain the logic slowly at a pace you can digest. Don't give them a chance to conlude too quickly.
The key is at slowing down the pace and thinking properly so that you are not rushing and making your decisions or choices. There is no point taking the Queen when the King is there to be checkmated two moves from now!
There are many keys to success – I am still exploring the others. But i can definitely bet on this – "slowing down your thought process to have clarity and resolve" is definitely one of them in the list.