Business Blog – Metacognition and Peak Performance

Are you aware that human beings are the only species on earth who have the ability to evaluate their thinking? Metacognologists believe that the ability to consciously think about thinking is unique to homosapient species and indeed is one of the definitions of sapience.

Metacognition refers to a level of thinking that involves active control over the process of thinking that is used in learning situations. Planning the way to approach a learning task, monitoring comprehension, and evaluating the progress towards the completion of a task: these are skills that are metacognitive in their nature. Similarly, maintaining motivation to see a task to completion is also a metacognitive skill.

Individuals with a high level of metacognitive knowledge and skill identify blocks to learning as early as possible and change “tools” or strategies to ensure goal attainment. The metacognologist is aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, the nature of the task at hand, and available “tools” or skills. A broader repertoire of “tools” also assists in goal attainment. When “tools” are general, generic, and context independent, they are more likely to be useful in different types of learning situations.

Executive management skills involve planning, monitoring, evaluating and revising one’s own thinking processes and products. Strategic knowledge involves knowing what (factual or declarative knowledge), knowing when and why (conditional or contextual knowledge) and knowing how (procedural or methodological knowledge). Both executive management and strategic knowledge metacognition are needed to self-regulate one’s own thinking and learning.

Metacognition helps people to perform many cognitive tasks more effectively. Strategies for promoting metacognition include self-questioning (e.g. “What do I already know about this topic? How have I solved problems like this before?”), thinking aloud while performing a task, and making graphic representations (e.g. concept maps, flow charts, semantic webs) of one’s thoughts and knowledge.


A. Do you believe thinking about what you think can help you get better results?

B. Do you believe there is a cause and effect relationship between your thinking and your results?

Most people might say that their thinking is fine, it’s the results that need improvement, or that they are too busy to think about what they think about, and their thinking has nothing to do with what happens in the real world.

Quite the Contrary!

It has been proven that the more aware you are of what you are THINKING about, the easier it is to improve your thoughts and thus your performance. Because ultimately each of us become what we think about, and as you upgrade your thinking your performance will change accordingly. Once you have established a higher plane of thinking you will more likely become more like what you think about.

Each of us can build the habit of using metacognition and to continue asking ourselves “…. Is this thought moving me closer to or farther from my ultimate vision?” When we truly understand the cause and effect relationship between thinking and vision, we will place ourselves in the best position to move forward and accomplish our goals. For top performers in any profession, it all begins first with what is happening inside the mind.

Gordon Frandsen
Business Coach
Small Fish Business Coaching
Redmond, Oregon

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