Our thoughts help us reason and problem-solve. Conscious thought and reflection help us understand better. Thoughts may lead us to action. What we think, then, is an important component of who we are and how we will live our lives. Our thoughts help us or hurt us, contribute to failure or success. Thoughts can become worry or anxiety, and thoughts don’t necessarily reflect reality. Here are some thoughts about thoughts and thinking.

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

— A. A. Milne

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.

— Abraham Lincoln

[I]n such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners.

— Albert Camus

An intellectual? Yes. And never deny it. An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. I like this, because I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched. “Can they be brought together?” This is a practical question. We must get down to it. “I despise intelligence” really means: “I cannot bear my doubts.”

— Albert Camus

Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.

— Albert Einstein

We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.

— Albert Einstein

Space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think.

— Albert Einstein

The significant problems of our time cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.

— Albert Einstein

When I examined myself and my methods of thought, I came to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.

— Albert Einstein

Everything has changed, except our way of thinking.

— Albert Einstein

Almost all of us long for peace and freedom; but very few of us have much enthusiasm for the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make for peace and freedom.

— Aldous Huxley

Amusement is the happiness of those who cannot think.

— Alexander Pope

The majority take the line of least resistance, preferring to have their thinking done for them; they accept ready-made individual, private doctrines as their own and follow them more or less blindly.

— Alfred Korzybski

There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking.

— Alfred Korzybski

Poets and heroes are of the same race, the latter do what the former conceive.

— Alphonse de Lamartine

Too often, I think, children are required to write before they have anything to say. Teach them to think and read and talk with self-repression, and they will write because they cannot help it.

— Anne Sullivan

Not out of right practice comes right thinking, but out of right thinking comes right practice. It matters enormously what you think. If you think falsely, you will act mistakenly; if you think basely, your conduct will suit your thinking.

— Annie Besant

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

— Aristotle, Metaphysics

The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think – rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.

— Bill Beattie

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows, like a shadow that never leaves.

— Buddha, The Dhammapada

Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.

— Buddha

But I try not to think with my gut. If I’m serious about understanding the world, thinking with anything besides my brain, as tempting as that might be, is likely to get me into trouble.

— Carl Sagan

But in introducing me simultaneously to skepticism and to wonder, they taught me the two uneasily cohabiting modes of thought that are central to the scientific method.

— Carl Sagan

Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.

— Carl Sagan

I’ve found that if I say what I’m really thinking and feeling, people are more likely to say what they really think and feel. The conversation becomes a real conversation.

— Carol Gilligan

When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.

— Carter G. Woodson

Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason; they made no such demand upon those who wrote them.

— Charles Caleb Colson

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.

— Charles Darwin

Habits of thought persist through the centuries; and while a healthy brain may reject the doctrine it no longer believes, it will continue to feel the same sentiments formerly associated with that doctrine.

— Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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

— Coco Chanel
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