How do I think?

Getting the question right

What do you think? What’s your opinion? How do you rate this product? Tell us about your experience.

We have never been asked so much by so many in so little time. Our opinions are valued, we hear. Our call is important. ‘Ask the people what they want’, is a constant on our TVs and radios from politicians, broadcasters and retail groups.

Any good market strategist will tell you that it is not so much what we want as how we think that is the issue. What we want changes from month to month, never mind decade to decade. But, to really sell something, we need to figure out how people tick.

How I think

This is possibly the most important question I can ask myself. How do I come to the opinions I have? What are my attitudes to certain people, issues, events, and how have my attitudes been formed? It is also the most dangerous question we can ask, and not just for those living in countries that we consider oppressive or illiberal.

How we think can be dangerous to any establishment, whether it considers itself liberal or not.

‘The summer knows, the summer’s wise’

I really must stop making references to songs from old movies. At some point every summer, I start to hum the tune to the hit song from the film ‘Summer of 42.’ The summer does have a wisdom of its own. With a change of pace, we tend to look at things a little differently. Could we use this time to look at how we think, not just what we think?

Over the course of the summer – with a recess in the middle of July when I shall be spending a week listening to ‘mind altering music’ during the Edinburgh Jazz Festival – I shall offer some reflection on the way we think. Meanwhile, perhaps you could spend some time thinking about thinking.

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