Skip to Content
OpenStax Logo
College Success

7.1 What Thinking Means

College Success7.1 What Thinking Means
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Exploring College
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 Why College?
    3. 1.2 The First Year of College Will Be an Experience
    4. 1.3 College Culture and Expectations
    5. 1.4 How Can This Book And This Course Help?
    6. Summary
    7. Rethinking
    8. Where do you go from here?
  3. 2 Knowing Yourself as a Learner
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 The Power to Learn
    3. 2.2 The Motivated Learner
    4. 2.3 It's All in the Mindset
    5. 2.4 Learning Styles
    6. 2.5 Personality Types and Learning
    7. 2.6 Applying What You Know about Learning
    8. 2.7 The Hidden Curriculum
    9. Summary
    10. Career Connection
    11. Rethinking
    12. Where do you go from here?
  4. 3 Managing Your Time and Priorities
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 The Benefits of Time Management
    3. 3.2 Time Management in College
    4. 3.3 Procrastination: The Enemy Within
    5. 3.4 How to Manage Time
    6. 3.5 Prioritization: Self-Management of What You Do and When You Do It
    7. 3.6 Goal Setting and Motivation
    8. 3.7 Enhanced Strategies for Time and Task Management
    9. Summary
    10. Career Connection
    11. Rethinking
    12. Where do you go from here?
  5. 4 Planning Your Academic Pathways
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 Defining Values and Setting Goals
    3. 4.2 Planning Your Degree Path
    4. 4.3 Making a Plan
    5. 4.4 Managing Change and the Unexpected
    6. Summary
    7. Career Connection
    8. Rethinking
    9. Where do you go from here?
  6. 5 Reading and Notetaking
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 The Nature and Types of Reading
    3. 5.2 Effective Reading Strategies
    4. 5.3 Taking Notes
    5. Summary
    6. Career Connection
    7. Rethinking
    8. Where do you go from here?
  7. 6 Studying, Memory, and Test Taking
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 Memory
    3. 6.2 Studying
    4. 6.3 Test Taking
    5. Summary
    6. Career Connection
    7. Rethinking
    8. Where do you go from here?
  8. 7 Thinking
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 What Thinking Means
    3. 7.2 Creative Thinking
    4. 7.3 Analytical Thinking
    5. 7.4 Critical Thinking
    6. 7.5 Problem-Solving
    7. 7.6 Metacognition
    8. 7.7 Information Literacy
    9. Career Connection
    10. Rethinking
    11. Where do you go from here?
  9. 8 Communicating
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 An Overview of Communication
    3. 8.2 Purpose of Communication
    4. 8.3 Communication and Technology
    5. 8.4 The Context of Communication
    6. 8.5 Barriers to Effective Communication
    7. Summary
    8. Career Connection
    9. Rethinking
    10. Where do you go from here?
  10. 9 Understanding Civility and Cultural Competence
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 What Is Diversity, and Why Is Everybody Talking About It?
    3. 9.2 Categories of Diversity
    4. 9.3 Navigating the Diversity Landscape
    5. 9.4 Inclusivity and Civility: What Role Can I Play?
    6. Summary
    7. Career Connection
    8. Rethinking
    9. Where do you go from here?
  11. 10 Understanding Financial literacy
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 Personal Financial Planning
    3. 10.2 Savings, Expenses, and Budgeting
    4. 10.3 Banking and Emergency Funds
    5. 10.4 Credit Cards and Other Debt
    6. 10.5 Education Debt: Paying for College
    7. 10.6 Defending against Attack: Securing Your Identity and Accounts
    8. Summary
    9. Career Connection
    10. Rethinking
    11. Where do you go from here?
  12. 11 Engaging in a Healthy Lifestyle
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 Taking Care of Your Physical Health
    3. 11.2 Sleep
    4. 11.3 Taking Care of Your Emotional Health
    5. 11.4 Taking Care of Your Mental Health
    6. 11.5 Maintaining Healthy Relationships
    7. 11.6 Your Safety
    8. Summary
    9. Career Connection
    10. Rethinking
    11. Where do you go from here?
  13. 12 Planning for Your Future
    1. Introduction
    2. 12.1 Why Worry about a Career While I'm in College?
    3. 12.2 Your Map to Success: The Career Planning Cycle
    4. 12.3 Where Can You Go from Here?
  14. A | Conducting and Presenting Research
  15. B | Recommended Readings
  16. C | Activities and Artifacts From the Book
  17. Index
Estimated completion time: 8 minutes.

Thinking is one of those hard-to-pinpoint aspects of life we typically don’t analyze much—like breathing or walking or sleeping. We constantly think, and becoming more attuned to how we think and what we do when we encounter new ideas is an excellent habit to pursue.

“If you’re going to do anything as much as you think, you might just as well learn about it and hone this skill.”

You may have read quotes or inspirational slogans that claim you are what you think. What does that mean? Can you think yourself into a good mood? Can you think you have a million dollars in your pocket? Does that mean you are the next music sensation if you often sing at parties? Not necessarily, but consider Jose, for instance. He isn’t a rock and roll star, but Jose spends a lot of his leisure time thinking about music, analyzing performances, memorizing his favorite musicians’ characteristics, buying fan clothing, and even designing a creative means to explain his excitement for music to his friends through a homemade video. Jose certainly could allow his fascination to seep into other aspects of his life. Do you have a hobby or interest you spend a lot of time thinking about?

Many people go to great lengths to attend a concert by a favorite music star. They think creatively about how to save enough money for tickets; they think analytically about scheduling their other obligations to have time off work to attend or how to make up work in their college classes. This much planning involves a great deal of thinking, and not all about music. In the example about Jose, thinking directs the actions of the person doing the thinking. So, in fact, what we think does influence who we are and how we act. We have many resources available to be more effective thinkers, and learning about these resources gives us options.

Get Connected

Apps and search engines literally bring thinking to our fingertips. Consider how often you visit Google. The use of this familiar site has become so commonplace as to render the proper name of the company into a verb—to google a topic. Basic calculators or word-processing software programs are other simple examples of technology we often use without recognizing them as thinking aids.

While apps, software programs, thinking games, and thought exercises may help you stretch your brain, don’t let their simplicity fool you into thinking that cultivating an inquisitive, thoughtful mind is easy or automatic. Thinking is as complex as it is necessary for our success in life. Some tools you may find useful are applications that provide challenges using mind puzzles are Peak and Elevate. These training apps offer brain training that varies from quick matching memory games to more sophisticated thought-processing speed scenarios. You can even use a straightforward tool like a flashcard app, such as Chegg Prep, to create your own thinking games -- using word associations or pictures to help you connect topics and build your skills.

A familiar element of the thinking apps is a progression tracker to help thinkers improve their focus and memory as well as to learn and practice math and verbal skills over time. Researchers are still investigating the correlation between thought-invoking game playing and the decrease in mental agility, memory, and cognitive vitality. Early studies have produced numerous findings, including a long-term investigation of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease conducted with nuns; you can look up the Nun Study to learn more, or go to this article.

Citation/Attribution

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book is Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/college-success/pages/1-introduction
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/college-success/pages/1-introduction
Citation information

© Mar 26, 2020 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.