To develop a disciplined mind—a mind that takes responsibility for the quality of its inner workings and continually seeks to upgrade its abilities—presupposes two overlapping yet distinct principles. First, we must develop a deep understanding of how our mind functions. Concepts, principles, and theories serving this end are the focus of this resource. It is not enough to read about these concepts, principles, and theories, though. We must internalize them to the point that we can use them routinely to develop unique strategies for targeting and improving the quality of our thinking. When we haven't internalized them well enough to effectively improve our thinking, they are of little or no use to us.
Authentic strategic thinking is thinking that takes a principle or an idea from the theoretical plane and, following its implications on the practical plane, develops a course of action designed to improve what we think, feel, and act. As you think through your behavior, and the patterns of thought that now rule your life, the important question is: How are you going to take important ideas and work them into your thinking so your behavior and emotional life changes for the better? How will you move from abstract understanding to concrete improvements? Only when you are doing strategic thinking regularly—the strategic thinking outlined in this chapter—can you begin to significantly improve as a thinker.