Why learning how to think trumps the latest PKM app

October 19, 2022 | Mirta Fagundes dos Santos

Manual transmission gear shift

When I was 15 years old I was itching for independence, a.k.a. getting a driver’s license.

Automatic cars were starting to take over, and of course, I wanted one, but my dad insisted that I would do my driver’s test on a manual car. And that my first car would be a manual car. “Manual or nothing”, were his exact words. He wanted me to understand the fundamentals of how a car drives before sending me out on the road with other drivers.

With the manual transmission, I had to focus on steering, braking, and accelerating while also paying attention to the road and my surroundings. I had to choose gears for the driving conditions and the environment I was in. Driving a manual forced me to use my brain to make decisions as opposed to simply shifting into “D” and using my foot to accelerate.

Only after I was fluent in driving my first manual car (Daihatsu Charade, for those who are curious), was I allowed to get an automatic.

Personal Knowledge Management tools are like an automatic car

Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) tools promise to organize your thinking.

But these knowledge systems are not solutions if your problem is that you are unable to process information clearly in the first place. It’s like putting the cart before the horse.

Evernote, Obsidian, or whatever your PKM weapon of choice is, are only secondary building blocks. Unless you have a foundation of first-principle, critical thinking, they will fail to help.

You have a brain, use it!

The real PKM you really need to start with is already in your head!

The knowledge processing hardware you need to start using, before looking for external help is your brain! It even comes with free software – albeit that software is a free trial version, and may need an upgrade :-).

If you learn how to use your brain to think critically, you will be able to:

– process information quickly

– understand situations clearly and logically

– uncover the beliefs that underly the logic

use those beliefs to come up with creative solutions

First learn how to use your brain to think clearly, only then relegate your thinking to an automated PKM! To register for the next Black Belt in Thinking course – Thinking Foundations – click here.