270 Thinking Quotes That Will Make You More Clever

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Here are 270 of the best thinking quotes. Keep in mind: there are no shortcuts to have clear thoughts. It’s all about perseverance, reading, writing, meditating, and most of all, slowing down. Enjoy.

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If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking. Benjamin Franklin

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You were born with the greatest weapon in all of nature — the rational, conscious mind. Robert Greene

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To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. Voltaire

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Right thinking comes with self-knowledge. Without understanding yourself, you have no basis for thought. Jiddu Krishnamurti

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There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees. Michel de Montaigne (Essais)

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Think for yourself, not of yourself. Think of others, not for others. Naval Ravikant

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I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. Warren Buffett

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We waste our time with short term thinking and busywork. Warren Buffett spends a year deciding and a day acting. That act lasts decades. Naval Ravikant

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We like it when other people agree with us, which is why we rarely say what we are thinking. Shane Parrish

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An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it. Jef Mallett

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Writing is not the most important thing; thinking is. But writing is probably the best way to improve your thinking. Matt Mullenweg

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Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood than of being misunderstood. Friedrich Nietzsche

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Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. John F. Kennedy

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If you can think and speak and write, you are absolutely deadly, nothing can get in your way. Jordan Peterson

See also: wise quotes, deep quotes, thought of the day

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The Best Thinking Quotes

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As soon as you have made a thought, laugh at it. Lao Tzu

The best thinking is rethinking. Shane Parrish

The person who consistently makes you think, is the most undervalued person in your life. Shane Parrish

Thinking is the ability to strip away what doesn’t matter from a situation so you can see what does matter. Shane Parrish

Anxiety is thought without control. Flow is control without thought. James Clear

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. Albert Einstein

Spend at least one hour a day thinking. Just thinking, alone, in silence. No music. No book. No one. Your mind gets clearer. Your relationships get healthier. Your life gets better. @orangebook_

The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind. Friedrich Nietzsche

New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not common. John Locke

Few men think, yet all will have opinions. Hence men’s opinions are superficial and confused. John Locke

Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so. Bertrand Russell

I think (too much), therefore I am (not there to live my life). Thich Nhat Hanh

If you overthink, you become stressed and confused. If you think too little, they will think for you. Maxime Lagacé

As a rule, you must always reserve the right to laugh the next day at your thoughts of the previous night. Napoleon Bonaparte

Regular minds find similarities in stories (and situations); finer minds detect differences. Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Bed of Procrustes, Amazon book)

The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. A second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. A first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. A.A. Milne

We only labor to stuff the memory, and leave the conscience and the understanding unfurnished and void. Michel de Montaigne

Thinking too little about things or thinking too much both make us obstinate and fanatical. Blaise Pascal

One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people’s motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogans – anything except reason. Thomas Sowell

Don’t just follow people because you agree with what they think. Follow them because you’re intrigued by how they think – and how they make you think. Adam Grant

The task is not so much to see what no one has seen, but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees. Erwin Schrödinger

Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. David Foster Wallace

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

Where all think alike, no one thinks very much. Walter Lippmann

Good that you ask – you should always ask, always have doubts. Hermann Hesse

See also: the quotes I use the most (in my own life)

Part 2. Thinking Quotes That Are…

The Most Famous Thinking Quotes (Einstein, Gandhi, Buddha, etc.)

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I think, therefore I am. René Descartes

To know what people really think, observe what they do, not what they say. René Descartes

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right. Henry Ford

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. Coco Chanel

Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought. Albert Einstein (See also: How To Boost Your Creativity The Einstein Way—With Combinatory Play, blog.trello.com)

We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them. Albert Einstein

People don’t like to think, if one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant. Helen Keller

Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too. Voltaire

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei

Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in. Napoleon Bonaparte

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking. Friedrich Nietzsche

I still live, I still think: I still have to live, for I still have to think. Friedrich Nietzsche

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well. Mahatma Gandhi

Knowledge is real knowledge only when it is acquired by the efforts of your intellect, not by memory. Henry David Thoreau

Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think. Thomas A. Edison

Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. Steve Jobs

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We more readily confess to errors, mistakes and shortcomings in our conduct than in our thought. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Hold your council before dinner; the full belly hates thinking as well as acting. Benjamin Franklin

I don’t care what people think, because people don’t think. Kanye West

What we think, we become. Buddha

More famous quotes

Short Thinking Quotes

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One-liners, short thinking quotes, sayings, thoughts and captions for your bio, social status, self-talk, motto, mantra, signs, posters, wallpapers, backgrounds.

Schedule time to think. Shane Parrish

Rewriting is rethinking. David Perell

Learn to enjoy silence. Maxime Lagacé

Learn to enjoy not thinking. @orangebook_

Writing well is thinking well. David Perell

Don’t outsource your thinking. Angela Jiang

Overthinking, AKA underacting. Jack Butcher

Wise? No, I simply learned to think. Christopher Paolini

The less men think, the more they talk. Montesquieu

Much learning does not produce thought. Heraclitus

The best way to minimize risk is to think. Shane Parrish

Build your own judgment, don’t rely on anyone. @AmuseChimp

Thinking is the talking of the soul with itself. Plato

For the busy mind it is painful to stop and think. Shane Parrish

For the calm mind it is pleasant to stop and write. Maxime Lagacé

Idiots ‘think’ alike, intelligent people different. @AmuseChimp

Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge. Carl Jung

A man has free choice to the extent that he is rational. Thomas Aquinas

The best way to improve your ability to think is to spend time thinking. Shane Parrish

My position on most things is this: I could be wrong, but I think I’m right. Jack Peach

Just think. Just be quiet and think. It’d make all the difference in the world. Fred Rogers

More short quotes

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Inspirational And Positive Thinking Quotes

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Genius is finding the invisible link between things. Vladimir Nabokov

We shouldn’t be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas. Noam Chomsky

You can achieve anything you want if you just change the way you think. Will you? Maxime Lagacé

Closed in a room, my imagination becomes the universe, and the rest of the world is missing out. Criss Jami

It’s the most powerful weapon you can possibly provide someone with. Jordan Peterson (On thinking and writing)

Think not so much of what you lack as of what you have: but of the things that you have, select the best, and then reflect how eagerly you would have sought them if you did not have them. Marcus Aurelius

A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions – as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all. Friedrich Nietzsche

Deep understanding requires deep thinking which requires focused time alone, away from the chatter of people online and offline. It requires staying with a single thought for a long time, focusing on it and developing it. In solitude is the genesis of great ideas. @TheAncientSage

What you think constantly becomes your reality. The seed of thought is converted into action and eventually becomes the tree of your being. @TheAncientSage

It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise. William Deresiewicz

A truth, an insight, which you have slowly and laboriously puzzled out by thinking for yourself could easily have been found already written in a book; but it is a hundred times more valuable if you have arrived at it by thinking for yourself. Arthur Schopenhauer

One great idea had walking down the beach can be worth more than a lifetime of hard work. Gary Halbert

The obedient student will memorize and forget. The interested seeker will explore and remember. @TheStoicEmperor

If you want to get smart, the question you have to keep asking is why, why, why, why? Charlie Munger

You must learn to master a new way to think before you can master a new way to be. Marianne Williamson

More positive quotes

See also: “You NEED to LEARN to THINK!” – Jordan B. Peterson (11 minutes YouTube  video by Evan Carmichael)

Funny Thinking Quotes

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Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again? Winnie the Pooh

You’ll have better thoughts staring at a wall than watching 24-hour news. Michael (@mmay3r)

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try! Dr. Seuss

The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. Terry Pratchett

I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it. Terry Pratchett

There is nothing wrong with standing back and thinking. To paraphrase several sages: “Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time”. Susan Sontag

Evidence shows that we do much less thinking than we believe we do — except, of course, when we think about it. Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Stop looking for angels, and start looking for angles. Ryan Holiday

Many a man fails as an original thinker simply because his memory it too good. Friedrich Nietzsche

Our heads are round so thought can change direction. Allen Ginsberg

More funny quotes

Deep Thinking Quotes (Some Are A Bit Dark)

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The people who don’t think are the ones who never listen. Haruki Murakami

To dare a thought is to risk being wrong. James Dale Davidson (The Sovereign Individual, Amazon book)

Our judgment is amongst the most subtle things that power corrupts. Naval Ravikant

Many a serious thinker has been produced in prisons, where we have nothing to do but think. Robert Greene

Your hard work and focus will give you speed. Your thoughts and judgments will give you direction. Maxime Lagacé

Your mind is working at its best when you’re being paranoid. You explore every avenue and possibility of your situation at high speed with total clarity. Banksy

Perhaps the logical conclusion of everyone looking the same is everyone thinking the same. Scott Westerfeld

If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think, they’ll hate you. Harlan Ellison

The challenge of our time is relearning how to concentrate. The past decade has seen an unparalleled assault on our capacity to fix our minds steadily on anything. To sit still and think, without succumbing to an anxious reach for a machine, has become almost impossible. Thibaut

The beauty of our system is that it isolates everybody. Each person is sitting alone in front of the tube, you know. It’s very hard to have ideas or thoughts under those circumstances. You can’t fight the world alone. Noam Chomsky

All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume. Noam Chomsky

You get nothing done because you prioritize thinking over doing, and you think you’re the smart one for your ability to think. Alexander J.A Cortes

In much of your talking, thinking is half murdered. For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly. Kahlil Gibran

The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. Horace Walpole

The thinker needs no one to refute him, for that he has himself. Friedrich Nietzsche Human (All Too Human)

Madness is the result not of uncertainty but of certainty. Friedrich Nietzsche

See also: truth quotes

Wise Thinking Quotes (Words of Wisdom)

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Stop thinking, and end your problems. Lao Tzu

The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas. Lao Tzu

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. Lao Tzu

The master reflects daily and consciously. The student reflects rarely and unconsciously. Maxime Lagacé

Nothing in life matters quite as much as you think it does while you are thinking about it. Daniel Kahneman

Your thoughts shape the world you see. The world you see shapes the experiences you have. Your experiences shape your thoughts. Shane Parrish

No decision is sometimes the best path. If you can’t get comfortable deciding, the answer is to explore the tension not force a decision. Shane Parrish

Amateurs go with the first idea that comes into their head. Professionals realize the first idea is rarely the best idea. Shane Parrish

Think through time – what do the consequences look like in 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 Years? Shane Parrish

Seek clearer thinking, not faster thinking. You acquire faster thinking on the way. @orangebook_ (See also: focus quotes)

Just because you’ve been doing something a certain way doesn’t mean you have to continue to. Don’t let momentum make your decisions for you. Justin Kan

More wisdom quotes

See also: Second-Order Thinking: What Smart People Use to Outperform (fs.blog)

Part 3. Thinking Quotes About…

Thinking Quotes About Life, Learning, Philosophy

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Learning without thought is labor lost. Confucius

I was never aware of any other option but to question everything. Noam Chomsky

Anybody who doesn’t change their mind a lot is dramatically underestimating the complexity of the world. Jeff Bezos (Amazon)

The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself. Peter Thiel

Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses. John Locke

We are better at finding information than thinking about it. Shane Parrish

It’s stupid the way people extrapolate the past – and not slightly stupid, but massively stupid. Charlie Munger

Your life becomes hard when you think it will be easy. Your life becomes easy when you think it will be hard. Maxime Lagacé

We must not put off thought till we are up to the chin in mire. Mature reflection can get over the most formidable difficulty. The pillow is a silent Sibyl, and it is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterwards. Baltasar Gracián

You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. Marianne Williamson

Every bit of learning is a little death. Every bit of new information challenges a previous conception, forcing it to dissolve into chaos before it can be reborn as something better. Jordan Peterson (12 Rules for Life, Amazon book)

There is a kind of work which any man can do, but from which many men shrink, generally because it is very hard work. It is called thinking. G.K. Chesterton

Events in life mean nothing if you do not reflect on them in a deep way, and ideas from books are pointless if they have no application to life as you live it. Robert Greene

A sedentary life is the real sin against the Holy Spirit. Only those thoughts that come by walking have any value. Friedrich Nietzsche

A great many people think they are thinking when they are only rearranging their prejudices. William James

The aim of an argument, or of a discussion, should not be victory but progress. Karl Popper

Every thought a person dwells upon, whether he expresses it or not, either damages or improves his life. Lucy Mallory

See also: quotes to live by, solitude quotes

Quotes About Thoughts

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Witness your thoughts. Your thoughts are attachments. Ram Dass

We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking. Santosh Kalwar

Thoughts aren’t really fixed realities, but simply movements of the mind that is thinking. Mingyur Rincpoche

Good thoughts come when you think hard. Great thoughts come when you don’t think. Maxime Lagacé

In meetings we pay attention to who said what and how they said it. We should be asking why they thought it. Shane Parrish

Being constantly busy obviates thought. More than that, it actively discourages it. Shane Parrish

The things I carry are my thoughts. That’s it. They are the only weight. My thoughts determine whether I am free and light or burdened. Kamal Ravikant (Live Your Truth, Amazon book)

The best way to think new thoughts is to deliberately set aside time for thinking new thoughts. Matthew Kobach

Examine the nature of your thoughts and you will discover that they are always in search of a dose of pleasure. Circumstances that you would like to go your way and situations that did not. This is your entire experience of life. There is nothing else. Kapil Gupta

People have original thoughts in the shower because it is one of the only places in modern life that offers refuge from entertainment, compulsive workaholism, and social hyperconnectedness. The isolation allows you to hear yourself think. Morning meditation for the masses. @TheStoicEmperor

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts. John Locke

People can only be as good as their thoughts, as successful as their mental patterns, as progressive as their ideas. Iyanla Vanzant

See also: dream quotes

Thinking Quotes About Mind

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Whoever controls the media, controls the mind. Jim Morrison

The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks. Christopher Hitchens

The best decisions come from having a clear mind. Having a clear mind comes from being indifferent to what they think. Maxime Lagacé

Your mind automatically generates thoughts related to the information you consume. Be conscious of your information diet. Michael

In today’s society, independent thinking is revolutionary activity where the human mind is bombarded with commercial aspirations. Thibaut

Once you view your thoughts as investments that pay dividends, you get real clear on what you allow in your mind. Kamal Ravikant

To be able to turn my mind on and off at will. To master it rather than be enslaved by it. To control the arrival and departure of thoughts. Naval Ravikant

I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind. Emily Brontë

Our task is not so much discovery as rediscovery. What one needs is not so much thinking as remembering. Sometimes it suffices to sit quietly and listen well, when venerable men have thought before us. Constant forgettings of truths once perceived are the very charm of the human mind; the history of human thought is nothing more than the story of these forgettings and rememberings and forgettings again. Lin Yutang

Your thinking is no better than the information available in your mind. Garbage in means garbage out. Fill your mind with high quality inputs to improve your thinking. Shane Parrish

When you are completely identified with your thinking mind you are totally separate from everything else in the universe. Ram Dass

The more we quiet the mind and free ourselves from clinging to thought forms the better able we are to hear the deeper voice within. Ram Dass

The mind does most of its best thinking when we aren’t there. The answers are there in the morning. Alain de Botton

It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view. George Eliot

See also: humility quotes

See also: 6 Ways To Restore Mental Clarity (blog.mindvalley.com) or 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation (healthline.com) (I highly recommend meditation to improve your thinking and well-being)

Thinking Quotes About Writing

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Writing is formalized thinking. Jordan Peterson

Don’t write to put your ideas down; write to think. Kevin Kelly

There’s nothing like actually writing something out to clarify thinking. Warren Buffett

Writing is thinking. I rarely know what I think about something until I write about it. James Clear

You didn’t understand if you can’t explain it. You didn’t think if you can’t write about it. Maxime Lagacé

Clear writing demands clear thinking, which makes it the ultimate discipline for sharpening the mind. Johnny Uzan

I believe deep thinking can only be done in writing. To follow an idea seriously, you must constantly pause to consider all possibilities, which takes time and care. François Cholet

You’ve got to be able to look at your thoughts on paper and discover what a fool you were. Ray Bradbury

If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them. George Orwell

He who writes carelessly confesses thereby at the very outset that he does not attach much importance to his own thoughts. Arthur Schopenhauer

Write what you think, not what you think you’re supposed to think. Jack Butcher

To be trusted, speak clearly. To speak clearly, think clearly. To think clearly, write every day. @orangebook_

See also: writing quotes

Thinking Quotes About Reading

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Think before you speak. Read before you think. Fran Lebowitz

When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process. Arthur Schopenhauer

If you agree with everything you read, you aren’t thinking. If you disagree with everything you read, you aren’t thinking. Critical thinking is the sweet spot. @orangebook_

It’s not about the books you’ve read, it’s about how it’s all connected in your mind. @orangebook_

Fools read fast. Geniuses reread. Maxime Lagacé

We need fewer cynics and more skeptics. Cynics are convinced change is impossible. Skeptics need to be convinced change is possible. Skeptics don’t trust everything they read. Cynics don’t trust anyone they meet. Cynics are pessimists. Skeptics are realists. Adam Grant

Shallow thinkers watch the news. Deep thinkers read about ideas. Shallow thinkers favor one-sided arguments. Deep thinkers welcome contradictions. Shallow thinkers reach wide audiences with simple aphorisms. Deep thinkers sometimes do too. Adam Grant

Don’t just teach your students to read. Teach them to question what they read, what they study. Teach them to doubt. Teach them to think. Richard Feynman

We read a lot, but we don’t think. Reading is easy, thinking is hard. We read passively rather than questioning actively and pondering what we read. We rely on others’ thinking, not realizing they might be wrong. If we start thinking we might do it better than those we read. @TheAncientSage

Do your own thinking. Reading is great, but it can’t be a substitute for thinking. Knowledge gained from books will remain at the level of belief unless you confirm it by thinking for yourself. You own the knowledge only when you have verified it for yourself. @TheAncientSage

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours. John Locke

See also: reading quotes

Quotes About Clear Thinking, Right Thinking

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Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence. Thomas Szasz

Fear overrides all rational thinking. Greg Secker

The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks. Mortimer J. Adler

Pen, ink and paper and a sitting posture are great helps to attention and thinking. John Adams

The more tired you are, the more susceptible you become to short-term thinking. Brian Norgard

It becomes clear when you love silence, boredom and hard work. For the wise it’s play. For the ordinary it’s hell. Maxime Lagacé

How can you, in the midst of this noise, haste and false pursuits remain sensitive for the cultivation of right thinking? Jiddu Krishnamurti

Consistently successful people have the ability to separate what matters from what doesn’t and see what everyone else is overlooking. This skill is earned by doing the thinking, not buying the thinking. Shane Parrish

We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side. Charlie Munger

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently. Friedrich Nietzsche (The Dawn)

An honest thinker will highlight and confront the most intimidating counterargument. A dishonest thinker will seek out the most ludicrous counterargument and pretend it is the only counterargument. @TheStoicEmperor

I suspect that they put Socrates to death because there is something terribly unattractive, alienating, and nonhuman in thinking with too much clarity. Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Bed of Procrustes)

High modernity: routine in place of physical effort, physical effort in place of mental expenditure, and mental expenditure in place of mental clarity. Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Bed of Procrustes)

Realizing the gaps in your knowledge is more important than realizing the depths of your knowledge. Kunal (@CrazyPolymath)

You must develop the discipline to think right. This will give you the discipline to act right. Iyanla Vanzant

Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t. Jordan Peterson

See also: honesty quotes

Quotes About Critical Thinking, Deep Thinking, Decision-Making

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Think hard, dig deep, do not take appearances for reality. Robert Greene

The two biggest obstacles to good decision-making are haste and anger. Diodotus

Those who cannot understand how to put their thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of debate. Friedrich Nietzsche

Both books and advice are overrated compared to thinking really hard about a problem. Thibaut

Take a moment before defending yourself and consider all the ways in which the other person may be right. Neil Strauss

A clear mind is both confident and curious, calm and loving, courageous and humble. Maxime Lagacé

I think when you multitask so much, you don’t have time to think about anything deeply. You’re giving the world an advantage you shouldn’t do. Charlie Munger

Don’t listen to people because you agree with their answers. Listen because you respect the intellectual integrity they bring to their questions. You learn more from people who challenge your thought process than from those who affirm your conclusions. Adam Grant

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. F. Scott Fitzgerald

The sheer volume of options and the little time you spend on strategic thinking make it very likely that you‘re incurring massive opportunity costs. I hope that motivates you to stop and think. Johnny Uzan

The most powerful form of hard work is thinking clearly. James Clear

Best training ever for rigor and critical reasoning is…trading. You can only survive long term by going against wrong consensus by “experts”. Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Our whole educational system, from the elementary schools to the universities, is increasingly turning out people who have never heard enough conflicting arguments to develop the skills and discipline required to produce a coherent analysis, based on logic and evidence. Thomas Sowell

No skill is more valuable than the ability to critically think through problems. And schools don’t teach you a method of thinking, you have to do the work yourself. Those who do it well get an advantage and those that do it poorly pay. George Raveling

Too often decisions are made based on what is quantifiable rather than what’s important. Shane Parrish

You can’t make a good decision if you don’t ask the right questions. Shane Parrish

See also: courage quotes

See also: 3 Simple Habits to Improve Your Critical Thinking (hbr.org)

Quotes About Thinking Independently (Or Not), Thinking For Yourself

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Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

In order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. Jordan Peterson

You need all kinds of influences, including negative ones, to challenge what you believe in. Bill Murray

Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination. John Dewey

I like to think of criticism as the highest intellectual effort that mankind is capable of, and above all, I like to think of self-criticism as the most difficult attainment of an educated man. Lin Yutang

Think! Think clearly. Think for yourself. Think your own thoughts. Think consciously, actively, critically and with diligent sagacity. Give up the dysfunctional mental habits of believing and judging. Believe nothing; question everything. Thibaut

Independent thinking is not possible as long as there is an authority – any authority – you look up to. Unless you know something first hand you know nothing. Borrowed knowledge, cannot compensate for the lack of personal insight and experience. @TheAncientSage

Success and failure are societal constructs. It’s how society controls you: by making you play according to its rules. The rules are incorporated through imitation of others as no one seems to question them. Few think independently and even fewer dare to go against majority. @TheAncientSage

Schools should teach us how to think, instead they fill our heads with irrelevant knowledge. Health care should teach us how to eat for optimal health, instead it fills our bodies with dubious chemicals. This is what happens when you abdicate self-responsibility to others. @TheAncientSage

Everyone pretends to be ‘free thinkers’, but few individuals pass the line into expressive territories that may be detrimental to their own social well-being. Criss Jami (Killosophy)

The greatest thinkers in history certainly knew the value of shifting the mind into low gear. Charles Darwin described himself as a slow thinker. Einstein was famous for spending ages staring into space in his office at Princeton University. Carl Honoré (In Praise Of Slow, Amazon book)

There are very few who can think, but every man wants to have an opinion; and what remains but to take it ready-made from others, instead of forming opinions for himself? Arthur Schopenhauer

It has become fashionable to collect ideas and equate this to thinking. It is not. While other ideas may spur your own, it is the act of thinking for yourself that matters. Angela Jiang

A man’s greatest asset is his ability to think for himself. @LifeMathMoney

Intelligence is dangerous. Intelligence means you will start thinking on your own; you will start looking around on your own. You will not believe in the scriptures; you will believe only in your own experience. Osho

Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking. Leo Tolstoy

Free-thinking people must have the courage to act on their independent thought. Otherwise, they may as well be sheep. Ed Latimore

Sit in silence and reflect. Learn how to think without being told what to think. Ed Latimore

Free-thinking generates as much admiration as it does animosity. Ed Latimore

Think for yourself. Some people see warnings signs when they are alone. I see warning signs in a crowd. Maxime Lagacé

See also: be yourself quotes

Quotes About Over Thinking, Sadness, Misery

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Being scared is caused mostly by thinking. David Foster Wallace

Misery is almost always the result of thinking. Joseph Joubert

Don’t suffer imagined troubles. Ryan Holiday

Be careful what you put in. Those are seeds. Don’t water them. Those will grow. Clean your garden once in a while and go for a walk. Maxime Lagacé

One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane. Nikola Tesla

You don’t have to torture your consciousness with endless thinking. Jack Kerouac (Big Sur)

The most dangerous thing about an academic education is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualize stuff, to get lost in abstract thinking instead of simply paying attention to what’s going on in front of me. David Foster Wallace (This Is Water)

If you happen to be sitting, just sit. If you are smoking a pipe, just smoke it. If you are thinking out a problem, just think. But don’t think and reflect unnecessarily, compulsively, from sheer force of nervous habit. In Zen, they call this having a leaky mind. Alan Watts (See also: zen quotes)

Intellectualization creates a gap or lack of rapport between you and your life. You may think about things so much that you get into the state where you are eating the menu instead of the dinner. Alan Watts

We’re sitting under the tree of our thinking minds, wondering why we’re not getting any sunshine! Ram Dass

Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed. Leo Tolstoy

Pointless thinking is worse than no thinking at all. Haruki Murakami (Kafka On The Shore)

See also: sad quotes

See also: The Dangers of Thinking Too Much; And Thinking Too Little (5 minutes 30 seconds YouTube video by the School of Life)

Thinking Quotes About Emotions, Rationality, Judgment

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Feelings are invulnerable to rational thought. Stephen King

We like to emit logical and rational ideas but we do not enjoy this execution. Nassim Nicholas Taleb

We are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think. Antonio Damasio

Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality. Bertrand Russell

I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking. Albert Einstein

Thinking clearly and rationaly will bring you satisfaction. Listening to your heart will give you peace. Maxime Lagacé

In everything one thing is impossible: rationality. Friedrich Nietzsche

There is such a thing as being too rational. A certain level of delusion is necessary in order to succeed. Preethi Kasireddy

We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society. Alan Watts

You know you’re good at something when you switch from making decisions with your conscious mind to making decisions with your instincts. Naval Ravikant

The thing that prevents you from seeing what’s actually happening are your emotions; our emotions are constantly clouding our judgment. Naval Ravikant

In an age of infinite leverage, judgment is the most important skill. Naval Ravikant

Age does not confer wisdom. Never blindly listen to the advice of ‘elders’. Trust your instincts. Train your intuition. Consciously build discernment. Fateh Singh

Emotion and instinct were the basis of all our decisions, our actions, everything we valued, the way we saw the world. Reason and rationality were a thin coat of paint on a ragged surface. Karen Joy Fowler

The rate at which you learn and progress in the world depends on how willing you are to weigh the merit of new ideas, even if you don’t instinctively like them. Perhaps especially if you don’t like them. Shane Parrish

The tranquillity that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do. Marcus Aurelius (See also: stoic quotes)

Progress of the human society is predicated upon the proper functioning of a key element of the human mind, that is reasoning. Abhijit Naskar

Without enemies around us, we grow lazy. An enemy at our heels sharpens our wits, keeping us focused and alert. It is sometimes better, then, to use enemies as enemies rather than transforming them into friends or allies. Robert Greene

Do not fall into groupthink – the irrationality of collective decision-making. Robert Greene

One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too. Friedrich Nietzsche

See also: 15 Common Cognitive Distortions (psychcentral.com)

Thinking Quotes About Happiness, Unhappiness

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The pleasures arising from thinking and learning will make us think and learn all the more. Aristotle

Everything hangs on one’s thinking…A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself he is. Seneca

If we examine our thoughts, we shall find them always occupied with the past and the future. Blaise Pascal

You can’t think your way to happiness, you need to let happiness come to you. Maxime Lagacé

Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well-ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company. Seneca

I came to a point where I needed solitude and just stop the machine of thinking and enjoying what they call living, I just wanted to lie in the grass and look at the clouds. Jack Kerouac (On the Road)

I just want to think deeply about things. Contemplate ideas in a pure, free sort of way. That’s all. Haruki Murakami (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)

You can pass your life in an equable flow of happiness if you can follow the right way and think and act in the right way. Marcus Aurelius

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. Marcus Aurelius (See also: short love quotes)

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. Marcus Aurelius

See also: simplicity quotes

Part 4. Conclusion

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Thinking is by far the most underrated activity. People consider it “unproductive” to sit on a bench and think. So they spend their lives doing things they never thought through. An hour of clear thinking can yield a conclusion that changes your life. Johnny Uzan

Call to action: Watch Why You’re Not Thinking Clearly (7 minutes YouTube video by Nathaniel Drew) or How To Clear Your Mind (4 minutes 30 seconds YouTube video by SciShow Psych)

Author Bio

maxime lagace

Maxime Lagacé started collecting quotes in 2004 after he lost his girlfriend in a car accident.

In search of meaning, he dived in the self-improvement world, psychology and trail running. His goal was to understand his pain, his depression, his fears, his lack of motivation and inspiration.

Books, blogs, quotes and nature became his guide.

He finished his software engineering degree in 2007 at the École de Technologie Supérieure de Montréal. He also studied at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. A few years later, he started his first website to share his passion for quotes.

Maxime is a father of two and also loves running. His best 5k is 17 minutes 41 seconds and his best marathon (42k) is in 3 hours 33 minutes 11 seconds (with 1800 meters of elevation gain).

Other notable interests of Maxime are health (mental and physical), meditation, nutrition, bananas, human potential, education, learning, productivity and minimalism.

Finally, he is (very) far from being perfect.

You can find him on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Quora, Strava, Sportstats, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook.

Creation Date

April 5, 2020

Last Update

September 2, 2020

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