Time management: what is metacognition?
Making decisions isn’t always easy and can take up huge amounts of time. Time you might be able to spend more effectively elsewhere. Being aware of your own thought processes will ensure that you’ll spend less time on making substantial life and business-related decisions. Learn more about it by reading this article.
Metacognition is the ability to observe yourself in a situation and make changes so you’re better able to solve problems. If you are strong in this skill you can see a situation objectively and evaluate how things are going.
But if you don’t think through the possible results of your decisions, tend to make quick decisions, often repeat the same mistakes, and don’t think through long-term consequences, you are weak in this skill.
Metacognition is not an easy skill to develop because we have to step outside of ourselves — and our subjective thoughts, habits and biases — to look at each situation objectively. As David DiSalvo says in his book, Brain changer (2013), we have to “think about our thinking,” Although the prefrontal cortex is responsible for higher- order thinking and reasoning, multiple brain areas are involved in metacognition as well as in other executive skills.
We all have memories from the past – many unconscious ones — that influence how we think, feel and react to different situations and behaviors. With a strong metacognition skill you are able to actively examine each situation on its own merit while resisting the impulse to react involuntarily. By doing so you can more easily adapt to change, make better decisions and become more creative and successful.
Since our brain is plastic, we can train ourselves to improve our metacognition; but it takes a conscious effort to reject unconscious and false beliefs and reasoning. As mentioned previously, the brain is more flexible than most people realize. Through practice you can strengthen any skill, and maintain conscious control of your thinking. You can’t stop thoughts and feelings from popping into your mind; but you can question their validity.
I choose to view the mind as a separate entity that can control the brain. The brain is a computer that will never be duplicated in its complexity and amazing functionality. But the mind is who you are, and the brain is at your disposal. But it doesn’t come with a user’s manual, except for the findings of the neuroscientists, and you must learn how to operate it yourself. And just as we can be controlled by technology instead of the other way around, we can be controlled by our brain if we don’t take charge.
You must do your own programming and updates. You must service your brain regularly with proper diet, exercise and mental challenges to keep it in good working order. Read. Continue with lifelong learning. Maintain an active social life. Never compromise on sleep. Manage stress. And question your own thinking so you don’t feed it faulty information. Apply the old GIGO acronym to your brain – garbage in, garbage out.