General, How to, Tips

How Well Do You Think?

Olumide Olasope Written by Olumide Olasope · 2 min read >
Thinking

Introduction

It is weird how we pay very little attention to something as basic as thinking. An action we carry out every day of our lives. We rarely try to improve our thinking or even bother to check if we are thinking correctly.

The best thinkers study the mind and apply what they learn to improving their own thinking. When you start to be deliberate with your thinking, while using the best thinking you are capable of in every situation; you are beginning to think critically.

A simple exercise that eases you into critical thinking is listening to people who talk to you and repeating what they say back to them. It is a simple way to show how well you process information and sometimes reveals hidden biases you might have.

There are 4 activities that help you train your critical thinking and improve the quality of your conversations or arguments. The activities are;

1. Clarifying Your Thinking

We have all had that point where we have a brilliant idea or a simple suggestion. It makes sense in our mind. Then comes the point where we have to explain it to someone and they have this puzzled face like we are speaking Latin. This has happened to everyone at some point, and we instinctively use techniques like using analogies, giving examples or elaborating on what we mean.

It is our duty to help others understand what we mean and to ensure we understand what people mean by using the beginner exercise mentioned earlier.

2. Sticking to the Point

Sometimes our minds and thoughts just fall into a chaos that even we do not understand. We are in a heated conversation and we have no idea what started it all. The traps are obvious, once you catch yourself saying/thinking “this reminds me of” you are about to fly off on a tangent.

It is easy to think this applies only to one on one conversations. But it would not be difficult to point to a meeting we once had, to solve an issue, where everyone left the meeting angry with no headway towards solving the problem.

3. Questioning Questions

Channel your inner child, you do not understand something? Question it. A complex situation you are struggling with? Question it.  The guide to advancing this technique is simply making sure you ask deep questions that help you fish for the core points in anything. Superficial questions would just serve as annoyances in conversations; however, the deep ones help to stimulate thinking and enrich conversations.

4. Being Reasonable

This is a very important part of this process and most times the hardest to consciously do. It is a sign of a good thinker when you are able to change your mind when presented with facts that are superior to yours. You are not emotionally attached to your own ideas and do not judge ideas through the lens of a bias. You are objective and the person everyone loves talking with or running ideas by. Conversations and even arguments with reasonable people always feel refreshing. They present facts to support what they say and are ready to listen to your points and how your argument is constructed.

Conclusion

Every single activity outlined above is simple in principle. The challenge comes from applying them consciously, and using them as a guide to improving our minds and how we think.

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