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Chapter 16. Strategic Thinking Part Two > Key Idea #9: We Often Pursue Power Th... - Pg. 215

Strategic Thinking Part Two 215 it. We can work to bring them into full consciousness. This typically will be after the fact--especially in the beginning of our development as critical thinkers. After a time, when we become keenly aware of how our personal ego functions, we can often forestall egocentric reactions by the prior activity of rational thought. For instance, as presented in key idea #7, we can begin to recognize when our mind rationalizes in patterned ways. We also can become familiar with the kinds of rationalization our mind tends to use. For example, "I don't have time to do this!" may be a favorite rationalization. We could limit its use by remembering the insight, "People always have time for the things most important to them." We then are forced to face the truth about what we are doing: "I don't want to make room in my priorities for this," or "Since I continually say this is important to me, I'm only deceiving myself by saying, 'but I don't have time for it.'" Over time and with practice, we can begin to notice when we are denying some important truth about ourselves. We can begin to see when we are refusing to face some reality rather than dealing with it openly and directly. We can begin to recognize when we are automatically thinking in a dishonest way, in attempting to avoid working on a solution to a problem. In principle, then, we can study the tricks and stratagems of our mind to determine its automated patterns. Furthermore, and most important, we can learn to intervene to disengage irrational thought processes--if necessary after they have begun to operate. In short, we can refuse to be controlled by primitive desires and modes of thinking. We can actively work to replace automatic egocentric thinking with reflective rational thinking. Test the Idea Focusing on Denial as a Mechanism of Irrationality Although the egocentric dimension of the mind uses many defense mechanisms to maintain its self-centered