Organization, The Fist Step
Thinking allows no short cuts. One can do it well, poorly, or not at all (evasion). So what must you do to focus your mind and think clearly?
Organization is the starting point for good thinking. According to The Oxford English Dictionary to organize is “to form into a whole with mutually connected and dependent parts; to co-ordinate parts or elements so as to form a systematic whole (with either the whole or the parts as object); to give a definite and orderly structure to; to systematize; to frame and put into working order (an institution, enterprise, etc.); to arrange or ‘get up’ something involving united action.
It’d be hard to argue with the general benefits of organization. But to recognize it as a vital component for establishing the basis of good thinking is a bit more difficult. Understanding this role requires that you first recognize the limitations of both mind and reality.
Think of the number of math problems you can solve at one time. One, right? It’s impossible to focus on solving more than one problem at a time. You could easily jump from problem to problem, giving each one a little time, but solving multiple problems simultaneously is impossible. Since the mind is limited by an incapacity to think in parallel your charge in directing its focus is very important. Your direction is a matter of priority and will, and organization is the process that helps to put your priorities in order.
Mankind has known more failure than success. There are an infinite number of ways to fail while the paths to success are few. Physical reality is not malleable; it does not change according to your desires. You must abide by its laws to have any chance of success.
Organization is the practical method used to structure your efforts according to nature’s physical laws. Nature doesn’t allow you to change its course of time, its laws of space, or the characteristics of its phenomenon such as the natural elements or light. You must respect its fixed laws and operate in accord with them. The method of your operations must, therefore, be orderly, and your individual actions must be calculated.
If you could effect results according to your whims, then organization would be unnecessary. You could roll back time to correct your mistakes, you could foretell the future, you could be everywhere at once. With no thought of organization you could act successfully to achieve anything. Getting desired results would require little knowledge, and regardless of your strategy, you could succeed like a magician — cheating reality of her enforcing laws and operating on your range-of-the-moment desires. Any sort of method would have no meaning whatever. Thinking would, in fact, be considered a foolish effort.
Man too has a distinct nature. Not only is he limited physically by his body, but also by the operations of his mind and his values — the basis of which resides in his conscience. “And the Lord God said,`The man now has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.`”Genesis 3:22.
The limitations of man — those physical, mental, and conscience-based — uncover his need for method. In order to act in accord with his own values, and within the confines of his own physical and mental ability, man must think. Void of instinct man must try to make optimum choices among a vast number of options. His choices must be derived according to a method which considers both the limitations of physical reality and also those of his own nature. And this method is, of course, organization.
Motivation and Discipline
In addition to the natural necessity of organization for thinking there are other key benefits; organization provides you with an important governing sense-a sense of discipline.
To define the nature of discipline look back to the first issue of Thinking in Ink and retrieve the definition of discipline’s counterpart term, motivation. To be motivated, this issue claimed, is to “feel a goal.” Motivation is an emotive force. It is a desire, an urge.
But motivation is capricious. It is easy to slip in and out of the motivated state. You cannot, therefore, depend on the continuous excitement of motivation to sustain your effort to achieve. Motivation, instead, acts to give you an initial spark and also to reawaken and excite you as you make progress toward your goals. The steps to achievement are not always exciting or motivating. Progress, therefore, depends on more than the purely emotive power of motivation. Your efforts must be fueled not only by motivation, but also by the sustaining energy provided by discipline.
It is organization that gives you a sense of discipline. While motivation, as the first issue suggested, is the result of goal setting, discipline is the result of organization. Organization defines the steps necessary to achieve goals, and discipline pushes you to take those steps.
Organization is a general method to improve thinking.
Organization has meaning only in a context limited by the nature of physical reality and man.
Motivation is the result of setting goals. It ignites and re- energizes man.
Discipline is the result of organization. It provides man with his persistence and his consistency in achieving his goals
Goals of Organization
Imagine your desk in disarray. Things are scattered and in no specific order. The sight of a mess can be stressful, can’t it? Typically, we don’t like to see things out of order. Neatness and order are pleasing to the eye, and to be neat, therefore, is a virtue. Order, as would seem obvious, is one of the prime reasons for organizing.
Organization also provides efficiency. In a manufacturing plant or a business office the arrangement of the equipment or desks makes a great deal of difference in production. Moving a machine, a desk, or a computer terminal is many times enough to boost productivity. It is with this eye on efficiency that many people are motivated to organize.
It seems that the least recognized capacity of organization is its power to promote understanding. Organization unlocks the meaning of things. As a method of coordinating parts to form systematic wholes, organization is the primary means for building knowledge. To define parts and then to discover the relationships between them is to think. The result of organization is, therefore, knowledge and meaning. And for multi-dimensional man, meaning is everything.
Levi Hill — Copyright 1993-2003