The importance of thinking can’t be overemphasized in life. How we think will dictate how we feel and how we react to situations in life. That, in turn, will determine our success or failure.
Everyday you make decisions that not only affect you but also others around you. Instead of letting your thinking be hobbled by your ego, biases, and emotions, here are 7 different ways you think to always come up with smarter decisions.
1. You can think creatively
This means conceiving new ideas or solutions to problems. It means breaking from established thoughts, theories, rules, and procedures. When faced with a new problem, you can approach it with an unorthodox solution. Creative thinking involves putting things together in new and imaginative ways and it’s often referred to as “thinking outside the box.”
Creative thinking is in high demand in every sphere of living, because people are looking for ways to make things better, cheaper, and more effective.
2. You can think analytically
This means separating a whole into its basic parts in order to examine the parts and their relationships. If something happened, you could ask yourself why did this happened? what factors caused this? what can I do about this? Is there something I’m missing here?
Analytical thinking basically describes your ability to understand and solve problems using the information you have available. Analytical thinking can help you detect patterns between datasets that often leads to creative solutions.
3. You can think critically
Critical thinking is the process of analyzing facts in order to form a judgement. Critical thinking involves determining the authenticity, accuracy, worth, validity, or value of something. Basically, it’s thinking about thinking.
Because the decisions you make everyday affect your life, critical thinking can help you sort through all the myriad of facts and information you get to make smart decisions.
4. You can think concretely
Concrete thinking is reasoning that’s based on what you can see, hear, feel, and experience in the here and now. It’s sometimes called literal thinking, because it’s reasoning that focuses on physical objects, immediate experiences, and exact interpretations.
Although people who think solely concrete may have some difficulties in social situations, concrete thinking is a necessary first step in understanding abstract ideas. First, we observe and consider what our experiences are telling us, and then we can generalize.
5. You can think abstractly
Abstract thinking involves paying attention to the hidden meanings behind things and relating them to other items, events or experiences. It involves the ability to understand and think with complex concepts that, while real, are not tied to concrete experiences, objects, people, or situations. This type of reasoning involves thinking about ideas and principles that are often symbolic or hypothetical.
Abstract thought is usually defined alongside its opposite: concrete thinking. An example of a task that involves concrete thinking is breaking down a project into specific, chronological steps. A related abstract thinking task is understanding the reasons why the project is important.
Ideas such as humour, freedom, imagination, jealousy, love, friendship, wisdom are all abstract concepts. While these things are real, they aren’t concrete, physical things that people can experience directly via their traditional senses.
6. You can think divergently
Divergent thinking is the process of creating multiple, unique ideas or solutions related to a problem that you are trying to solve. Divergent thinking is similar to brainstorming in that it involves coming up with many different ideas to solve a single problem.
When you use divergent thinking, you are looking for options instead of just choosing among the ones that are already available. Divergent thinking works best for open-ended problems and involves creativity.
7. You can think convergently
Convergent Thinking involves seeking only one correct answer to a problem or a specific situation. It does not need creativity to be able to find solutions, instead, logic and reflection are used.
Creative problem solving begins with divergent thinking — to spontaneously collect free-flowing ideas — before thinking convergently to logically reasoning which may be the best option or solution to the problem.
Convergent thinking is useful in situations when there is a single best correct answer and the answer can be discovered through analyzing available stored information. Multiple-choice questions on school exams are examples of convergent thinking. You have four possible answers but only one is right. In order to solve the problem, you would use convergent thinking.
You also use convergent thinking when you have to make an important decision where thinking has to be critical, analytical and reflective.