Our thoughts frame our approach towards the various situations we come across in our lives, whether it be at home or at work. But the right approach for any problem is born out of the right kind of thinking, also known as aanvikshiki.
Chanakya in his book Arthashastra, gave us an indication of the various types of thinking he practiced and preached.
Here’s a list of six types of thinking Chanakya elucidated:
One of the reasons why Chanakya was considered brilliant was because he used to look at both sides of a situation. Looking at only one dimension cannot give us the full picture. When you look at both sides of an issue, your thinking evolves. Knowledge of the other viewpoint only enriches your thinking.
There can be one solution to many problems. There can be many solutions to one problem. This is called alternative thinking. The problem and the solution are both in our minds. Train the mind in the right kind of thinking, and you will succeed, no matter what the problem is.
Chanakya trained kings on how to think. An important aspect of the thought processes of a leader is selflessness. Leaders work for the benefit of others. Kautilya’s Arthashastra says the king has to take care of not only human beings but also animals, birds, plants, minerals, water bodies and all else that is part of his kingdom. Thus, according to Chanakya, leadership thinking is an all-inclusive thinking.
In his way of thinking, Chanakya stressed on the importance of being innovative and creative. He knew that creativity works only if we are at the right place at the right time. If we miss the right time, we may not get it again. Furthermore, he adds that creativity does not mean destruction. So, while creativity should be our focus, let us not be inhuman.
Good leaders need to have good strategy. Through careful, well-planned strategies, we develop lateral thinking. Have you ever wondered in a game of chess, despite having the same number of soldiers, elephants, horses, and other pawns, why does only one emerge as the winner? The moves and the strategy used by an individual make all the difference. This is where lateral thinking comes in. To develop lateral thinking, first we need to understand our own thinking and next we need to understand the thinking of others. When we combine both, success in anything we take up is guaranteed.
Another type of thinking Chanakya wanted leaders to develop was spiritual thinking. Spiritual people are always active and dynamic. They are action-oriented. The spiritual energy in them gives them the strength to do better than the ordinary. With a foundation of spirituality, even the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Thus, among all the types of thinking brought out by Chanakya, the highest form is spiritual thinking.
These timeless teachings by Chanakya continue to serve us in our lives. Tell us if how you have benefitted from them.