Guest Post: Bill Bauer on Learning How to Think

Of all the men I have personally come to know in life, Bill Bauer is one of the men I admire most. For many years Bill was the “boss” of two of the other men I admire most, my brother Karl and my brother Ed. All three of those men worked for Chicago Bridge and Iron and all three are men that adorn the gospel of Christ well. Bill has recently started a series of posts on FaceBook about “thinking”. Below you will find essay #4 in his continuing series on helping people learn how to think. Enjoy.



This is the fourth in a series of essays to help you become a better thinker. 

Essay #4. December 10, 2019

Today’s subject is, “Limited Resources”.

Let’s start with a riddle.

What do you have today, had more of yesterday, will have less of tomorrow and someday will not have any at all?

Most of you probably figured out fairly quickly that the answer to the riddle is time. Every one of us has a finite number of days that we will live on this earth. We don’t know how many, we don’t want to know how many, but rest assured it is a finite number. The last time I checked the mortality rate is still 100%.

You might think that is a “downer” way of starting an essay. It is not intended to be; it is just an introduction into the subject of limited resources. When you stop to think about it you will realize every resource you have is limited, be it money, or IQ, or physical strength or today’s subject, time.

You might ask, “What does time have to do with becoming a better thinker?” Good question. Here are three suggestions.

Point no. 1. Take time to think. Make it a habit of sometime during the day just sitting down with yourself and reflect on the things going on in your life and what is important to you.

As our culture has been overcome by information technology, electronic devices and the 24-hour news cycle we find we are constantly bombarded by information much of which is useless, repetitive or even damaging to our well-being. Regardless of the subject or one’s point of view the end result is it crowds out the time you have for thinking.

If you do not deliberately take time to think you will find yourself always reacting (with your emotions) rather than acting (with your intellect) which is exactly what those who would like to control your thinking want you to do.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I am too busy to even think?” Have you heard yourself saying that? Which brings us to the next point.

Point no. 2. Value your time. Many of my insights come from successful football coaches. Legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant of Alabama passed away in January of 1983. Inside his wallet was a newspaper clipping he had carried for many years and shared with his players often. The clipping contained a poem written by Heartsill Wilson, an accountant and motivational speaker from Texas. The title of the poem is, “A New Day”, and it reads as follows:

“This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving something in its place I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss, good, not evil, success, not failure in order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it.”

Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder of Kansas State had a simple formula for success that he asked of each player. “Just try and get a little bit better today. Whether it is in the classroom, the weight room, film study or the practice field, just get better today. Don’t worry about things in the future; get better today and the future takes care of itself.”

What did you exchange a day of your life for yesterday? What are you going to exchange today for?

The amount of time consumed by non-productive activities is astounding. Studies have shown that by the time a young man is 18 years old he has spent 10,000 hours playing video games and watching porn on his computer. In that same amount of time, he could have learned two foreign languages.

Someone once told me that, if you want to have good memories when you are old, you must create them when you are young. Value your time.

Point no. 3. Take time to plan. Volumes have been written on the subject of time management. You may have taken such a course yourself. The principals are valid. Prioritize your activities. Plan the work. Work the plan.

You have no choice but to spend 24 hours of your life today. You do have a choice on what to spend it on.

You cannot do anything about yesterday. It is gone. You cannot do anything about tomorrow. It is not yet here. The only day you have is today.

Take time to think. Value your time. Take time to plan.

Next week’s subject, “Absolute Truth”.

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Bill Bauer on Learning How to Think

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