Most of this book is spent on the step-by-step instructions for working
With each of the techniques it presents, but in this introduction I want to briefly touch on some ideas, attitudes, and behaviors that I have found create a mind set conducive to effective thinking and communication – these are the ultimate keys to effective use of Flying
Logic and Emotion
“Logic” is popularly seen as a cold, complex topic; on par with higher mathematics and invoking images of nerdy professors, science fiction
Computers and emotionless aliens. But the fact remains that we all think, and we all use logic with more or less skill.
What is not widely understood is that logic is simply the rules for thinking. Just as it is possible (though perilous) to drive a car without
Knowing the rules of the road, it is possible to think without understanding
The rules of logic. These rules are extremely powerful, and fortunately quite simple
– but it is unfortunate that as children we are rarely taught to use them as naturally as we learn to read and write. And far from turning us into dispassionate machines, we humans are naturally the happiest and most productive when our emotional hearts and logical minds work together in concert.
Some people resist “being logical” on the grounds that they “just know how they feel” on a given subject. But when we experience strong emotions or gut instincts, it is important to recognize that there are always underlying causes for those feelings. If we merely acknowledge the resulting feelings, and resist a deeper understanding
Of the causes, we create a disconnect between the rational and emotive parts of our minds. This disconnect results in cognitive dissonance,
Which is stress resulting from attempting to believe conflicting
Things or behave in conflicting ways. Cognitive dissonance is a two-edged sword: on the one hand it can help motivate us to change our beliefs for the better (that is, to better reflect reality) while on the other hand it can also lead us to manufacture rationalizations
For the way we feel that don’t reflect reality. While both actions
Quell the discomfort of cognitive dissonance in the short term, rationalizing ultimately leads us deeper into trouble by putting us further and further out of sync with reality.
Attempting to act on feelings alone has another drawback: such actions
Leave us vulnerable to unintended consequences that our rational
Minds could have helped us predict and avoid. Of course, it works the other way too: if we try to be “purely rational,” yet ignore strong feelings by discounting their causes, we are also going to create
The solution is to get in the habit of bringing the causes (or reasons) that underlie our emotions and instincts to the surface. In doing so, we validate our emotions, and can then integrate them into effective plans.
The good news is that thinking is a learnable skill that improves with practice, and that doing so does not diminish, but rather complements
The value of emotions.
Communication and Criticism
We can rarely accomplish anything of significance alone: we rely on other people for many kinds of contributions, and since no one is an island, we must communicate effectively with others – to gain an understanding of their needs, benefit from their experience and wisdom, and negotiate their cooperation.
Often, we are too close to a situation to understand it well – we are embroiled in the situational details and “can’t see the forest for the trees.