GOOD THINKING! Leadership Corner- Metacognitive Thinking

October 1, 2019


Metacognition is thinking about thinking.  Over the last couple of weeks, we have discussed the importance of elevating our level of consciousness.  Our subconscious mind will always guide us down the path of least resistance.  There are at least two old adages created from that concept. One is “nothing worth having comes to us easily, the second is, “if it were that easy then anyone could do it!”  In my opinion the most significant research conducted during the 20th century was Locke and Latham’s “Goal Setting Theory”.


Originally developed as an organizational development tool, The Goal Setting Theory, has practical application in our everyday lives.  Researchers Edwin Locke and Gary Latham found that individuals who set specific difficult goals performed better than those who set general, easy goals. Locke proposed five basic principles of goal setting: clarity, challenge,commitment, feedback, and task complexity. Notice “easy to achieve” is not listed as one of the principles of goal setting. Individuals must choose to discover what is beneficial to their welfare then chart a path to accomplish their desires.  They must choose the means for attaining these goals, and then they must choose to act based on these judgments. The realm of goal setting theory lies within the domain of purposefully directed action. The theory focuses on the question of why some people perform better than others. If they are equal in ability and knowledge, then the cause must be motivational.  Motivation is a conscious action!



Metacognition is an acquired skill that is based on the concepts of personal development and goal attainment.  Those who practice metacognition have a raised level of consciousness that increases with practice.   One of the most elementary benefits of cognitive thinking is the understanding of what one knows and doesn’t know.  The metacognitive thinker is both conscious-competent and a conscious-incompetent. They know what they know and don’t know and have an understanding of what is required to close the knowledge or skill gap.   When your goals are clearly defined, problems become “opportunities for solutions,” and determination becomes our dominant characteristic. Our attitude becomes positive and confident. The late Will Rogers, one of the most quoted and respectedAmericans, once said, “The difference between winning and losing any contest begins long before the game starts, and it’s no secret. The winners expect to win - the losers just hope.” If you expect to win, to succeed - you will!  In life, you cannot always decide what will happen to you, but you can always decide how you will react.  This concept is best described using the abbreviation S.T.R: Stimulus, Thought, Response! There are many, many reasons for success, but only 3 for failure:


a) We stop learning 

b) We stop trying

c) We start justifying


People who practice metacognition possess the ability to think strategically, problem-solve, plan, set goals, organize ideas, and evaluate.  The great legislator and civil rights champion Robert Kennedy once stated, “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream of things that never were and say why not.”






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