How many thoughts do you have per day?

The New York Times reported that Alex Rodriguez’ “performance coach” is working with Alex to reduce the number of thoughts he has per day. Most people, he says, have 2-3,000 (that works out to about three per minute, in case you were wondering), whereas highly trained professional athletes get rid of negative and useless thoughts, reducing their total daily thought count down to 1,200 or so. And they hold each thought longer.

I’m sure Dogen would agree that this seems very logical so far, but I still have two questions. First, how do the athletes reduce their thought count? And second, exactly how do you define a “thought”?

8 Responses to “How many thoughts do you have per day?”

  1. Brian Richmond Says:

    I occassionally think about my thoughtlessness.

  2. Bob Clarke Says:

    Taken in context, if an athlete (or anyone performing) has a thought in their strategy it often acts as an extra step that slows them down enough to lose.
    IE: A fighter will see an opening in an opponent and, without thinking, throw a punch. It’s two steps that happen so quickly it appears to be one and the fighter may not even know that he saw the opening. Where as if that same fighter sees the opening in his opponent and has a thought, I should punch now, he may miss the opportunity to be effective with the punch and may even get punched because he was caught thinking instead of doing. So to sum it up you need to have a see and do rather than a see and think and do.

  3. prskash Says:

    think a person driving a car in rush hours, how many thought he may be entertaining per minute ? we need to stretch our thought to get an indicaive answer.

  4. DAY 3 - Stop! Look! Listen! « Blogging Elul Says:

    [...] LOOK at how I am thinking – am I moving toward or away from what is good.   It is believed we have between 2,000 – 3,000 thoughts per day.  http://www.numenware.com/article/268  [...]

  5. Training the Mind Says:

    If we have a flow of thoughts that lead from one subject to another does that mean we only had one thought? If we are thinking while we are driving about where we are going, how to operate the vehicle, anticipating the actions of other drivers, determining the physics invovled in simply merging into traffic, and this doesnt even mention the road condition or weather factors, are we still able to think about what we are going to have for dinner when we get home?

    I submit that we can think about several thoughts at once, then we can take action on the ones we choose. Some of the actions require only the thought of a muscle memory response such as turning on the blinker or pressing the brake. Others require cognative thought to articulate the body or change the thought or idea into spoken word.

    So now I submit what about those people who listen to the radio while driving? Does that mean that they are not thinking about driving when the radio gives them a thought? How about those invovled in conversation while driving? Are they distracted to a level of unsafe driving? I submit that although it may be different for each person, the longer they have been driving the more “extra” activities can be done without compromising safety. However, as the situation on the road changes from one that simply requires muscle memory to one that requires actual cognative thinking, (such as looking for an address or driving in a busy unfamiliar town) your “extra” activities should be limited to keep the safety level up.

    These are my thoughts and I am not currently driving.

  6. Caroline Says:

    I believe I have more thoughts than the average person, I do not dwell on one thing for long and I prefer sitting in the back of the car when someone else is driving because I have time to think.

    I think I have trained my mind to think a ton because as a writer I always need new ideas. Also as a long distance runner, I do not need to reduce my thoughts, rather to increase to keep my mind off of my tiredness.

  7. Daniel Kochanik Says:

    I think that it’s very hard to establish one particular number for a thoughts a day, because that number changes diametrically from person to person, and even one person different period are marked by different speed of thoughts.

    On one side you have people who think a lot, perhaps every second one thought, or some time less. Well, presuming that a day has 86 400 seconds, you could say that those people could have 60 000 – 100 000 thoughts a day.

    On the other hand, you have people who are light-headed, they don’t feel much stress and lead peaceful, organized life ( and the case of athletes, which has been mentioned a number of times above is not the only case of light-headed people). Those people can experience one thought in every 3-5 seconds, and sometimes not even that. They are capable of catching a certain comfortable notion and hold it for 15 seconds, or even much longer. Those people can have only like 1000 – 3000 thoughts a day, simply because of they slow frequency.

    So as I said in the beginning, it varies diametrically from person to person. And even in one person it can change diametrically, because for example, when some egoistic little brat becomes a monk by the age of 40, his frequency of thoughts is quite different from the times when he was 20.

    The athletes are probably quite low in frequency of thoughts as well. They keep it that way to ensure the serenity and peaceful lifestyle, which can lead to succesful completing with other athletes.

  8. Shekinah Says:

    I think there is a missunderstanding,a kind of confusion from all the writers who are mistaking “a thought” from “an idea”. But I am happy to learn more from them.

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