Course Manuals 1-12
Course Manual 1: Thinking Concepts
Thinking is a pattern of behavior in which we use internal representations of things and events to solve some specific purposeful problems. Thinking is a process of internalizing external events (Belonging to past, present and future).
Do you know how many thoughts your mind has in a given hour?
According to experts, the mind thinks between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts per day. That equates to 2500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. That is amazing.
Have you ever considered what kinds of thoughts you have?
If you pay attention to these thoughts, you’ll notice that the majority of them are useless, unimportant thoughts that race through your mind at breakneck speed. These are words you repeat in your head, comments your mind makes, repeating what you heard, questions, answers, and a slew of meaningless wandering thoughts you may not even be aware of.
You may not believe that you have this many thoughts, but if you have practiced meditation, you will have proof of the large number of thoughts that pass through your mind. It’s like being in a crowded train station or airport terminal with a large number of people coming and going.
When you try to study, solve a problem, or make a plan, you get proof of the never-ending stream of thoughts. You become suddenly aware of the numerous irrelevant thoughts vying for your attention.
The mind is like a butterfly, flitting from one flower to the next, never remaining still.
You might not be aware of this endless thinking in everyday life. The majority of this thinking is automatic, a mental habit. Only when you need to focus on something specific do you become aware of the many thoughts that keep distracting and attracting your attention.
This stream of thoughts continues as you dress, eat, walk, work, drive, talk, shower, or bathe. It happens when you are alone and when you are with others. It continues until you fall asleep. It’s like a constant mental noise that never stops. I’ve previously written about mental noise and how to deal with it.
This never-ending stream of thoughts can be tiring and exhausting, especially when you are anxious or worried. People sometimes drink, take drugs, or engage in hobbies or other activities to divert their attention away from these thoughts, but this is not the best solution.
• Consider how much energy and time you could have saved if you could reduce the number of thoughts you have.
• Consider how much better your focus would be if your thoughts were not bothering you.
• Consider how much inner peace, calm, and happiness you would have gained. If only there was a way to stop all these meaningless thoughts.
Do you leave your car’s engine running after you arrive at your destination? You certainly turn off the engine. So why not do the same with your thoughts?
We could argue that this is an automatic process that cannot be stopped. Wrong! Although it is an automatic process, it can be stopped or at least slowed. Meditation is a great tool to clear our mind and gain focus.
Nature of Thinking
• Thinking is, at its core, a cognitive activity.
• It is always aimed at achieving some goal or end.
• Thinking is defined as a problem-solving strategy.
• Instead of motor exploration, there is mental exploration in thinking.
• Thinking is a symbolic process.
• Thinking can shift very quickly, spanning time and space.
How do we organize all of the information that comes to mind? We mentally categorize information into groups. Concepts are mental collections of similar events, objects, ideas, and people. A concept is an example of fruit. In our minds, there are numerous types of fruit that fall into that category. More specifically, the idea of yellow fruit probably conjures up images of bananas and pineapples.
Grouping information into concepts makes our minds work less hard. We’d have to invent new words if we didn’t organize information this way! How do we form an idea in our heads? A prototype is the first step in developing a concept!
Prototypes are simply mental representations or examples of a concept. When we match a new item to a prototype, we create a quick sorting pathway for later recall. What fruit comes to mind first when you think of fruits? Is it a fruit? If that’s the case, this is most likely your fruit prototype! It tells you what qualifies as fruit and should be classified as such.
When we come across an unfamiliar object, we may require a new prototype. We could create an entirely new category in our minds for the object, or we could learn more about it to see if it fits into an existing category. Perhaps we should reconsider our understanding of a prototype and concept completely to fit a new example.
Did you know tomatoes are a type of fruit? Tomatoes are a type of fruit that contains both flesh and seeds. Fruits include cucumbers, avocados, olives, and corn. Okra and string beans are also technically fruits. Do your fruit concept and prototype need to be changed to accommodate these food items?
Critical thinking occurs when we intentionally and carefully apply our thoughts to the world around us in order to understand, relate to, and solve problems. Critical thinking was coined by John Dewey (1910) and defined as the application of understanding. He also used the terms reflective thinking and reflective thought to describe critical thinking.
According to John Dewey, critical or reflective thinking begins with a desire to solve a problem. Also, according to Dewey, the scientific method is all about finding an answer based on available data. Answering a question scientifically necessitates creativity, intellectual honesty, and sound judgment.
Critical thinking necessitates advanced thought processing and refines cognitive abilities. Critical thinking necessitates abilities like conceptualization, interpretation, and analysis. How do we exercise critical thinking? What cognitive tools or concepts can we use to answer questions on a math test, for example?
Psychology Thinking Concepts and Tools:
We use cognitive tools to solve problems and understand new information, just as you would use tools to build things in real life.
Bloom’s Taxonomy of Thinking Tools
Bloom’s taxonomy was developed by Benjamin Bloom (1956) as a hierarchy of cognitive tools. It has six levels of cognitive tools that progress from simple to complex. Remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating are the levels in order. See how many of Bloom’s tools you can use as you think and talk about a topic to determine how well you understand it.
Consider a subject or topic that you are very familiar with. As an example, consider flowers. What are your memories of flowers? What facts can you quickly recall from your memory? How well do you know flowers? Summarizing the parts of a flower, comparing different types of flowers, classifying flowers into groups, explaining how parts of a flower function, and interpreting scientific language about flowers are all examples of understanding.
You can apply your flower knowledge based on your understanding. Can you tell someone about a specific flower that you, see? Applying frequently entails analyzing as well. Can you tell the difference between flowers, organize them, and assign different functions to them? You are ready to begin evaluating a topic if you can apply and analyze it. Does what you’ve learned about flowers so far make sense?
Perhaps you learned something about flowers when you were younger that you now realize only applies to certain types of flowers. You criticize textbooks for generalizing this aspect of flowers. The more you know about a subject, such as flowers, the better you will be able to evaluate what others say and write about them. The highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy is creation.
• Can you create a viable flower farm plan using all of your flower knowledge?
• Can you come up with solutions to flower farming problems?
• Can you think of new ways to keep cut flowers fresher for longer?
Examples of Thinking Concepts in Psychology
To find answers to many questions and problems in life, we rely heavily on various types of thinking.
What are some examples of different types of thinking in action?
Algorithms are taught in science and math classes to help us solve problems. A method or procedure for determining a solution to a problem is referred to as an algorithm. PEMDAS, or the order of operations in mathematics, is an example of this. The answer to the math problem will differ depending on the order of operations you use! Algorithms, when used correctly, guarantee a correct answer.
Heuristic thinking is a type of simplified thinking. While this strategy is simple and fast, it also leaves a lot of room for error. Heuristic thinking can be considered of as a trial-and-error approach to problem solving.
Example: You need to replace a lightbulb in your home but don’t know what type to get. You go to the store and buy one that looks similar to the one you have at home. As you experiment with the new lightbulb, you realize it is not the correct type of lightbulb. You repeat the process of going to the store and looking for one that appears to work. You eventually find one that works!
What happens if heuristic reasoning fails to provide a solution? We frequently ignore the problem and go about our business. We can move on from a question that we are unable to answer as we take a test. Suddenly, without warning, an answer appears in your mind! This is known as insight, also known as a “Aha!” moment.
Characteristics of Thinking in Psychology
Mental sets, intuition, and metacognition are some characteristics of thinking in psychology. Do we approach a problem the same way each time? Do we follow a gut instinct or intuition to answer a question? What is metacognition?
A mental set means approaching the solution to a problem in the same way that we have in the past. It worked for us last time, so why not try it again? Does this approach or way of thinking always work for every kind of problem? No, but mental sets can still be beneficial as thinking shortcuts. If it is raining outside, we automatically take an umbrella with us because an umbrella proved useful in the past.
What about our intuition? These are feelings or thoughts that can be disconnected from logic or based on our emotions. You just know what to do when you have intuition. When we need to act quickly or solve a problem, we can use intuition to help us. Our intuitions are frequently based on heuristic reasoning.
Metacognition is the process of reflecting on one’s own thinking. It is the process by which we plan, assess, and monitor our performance on a task, our understanding of a subject, or our solutions to problems. Metacognition is the ability to reorganize one’s thoughts about a specific task or problem. Learning, comprehension, and other thinking strategies improve your cognitive abilities. Finally, they assist you in thinking more deeply about various topics and developing your metacognition.
Maddy and her boyfriend had a huge fight yesterday. They were both exhausted and emotional. Maddy is reflecting on the fight today and realizes that she reacted emotionally and let her emotions guide her thoughts. She is contemplating her thoughts, and she hopes to use what she has learned from this fight to help her respond more effectively in the future.
“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” ― Fran Lebowitz
Exercise 8:1: Have a Conversation WITHOUT Using the Letter “E”
This fun game will automatically flex your brain’s “muscles” and help make you mentally sharper.
Object of this game:
The object is for you and your friend to carry on a regular conversation without using any word that has the letter E in it. But you must try to make the conversation as normal as possible without any long pauses in between sentences.
Person 1: “What do you want to do now?”
Person 2: “I don’t know, how about lunch. I know of a good fast-food joint.”
Partner up with someone and begin your e- less conversation.
Share your experience with everyone in the group.
***The reason why this is such a powerful exercise is because your mind is like a human thesaurus. You’re constantly looking for the right words to say so that your sentence makes sense, and you are E-free. It’s outside-the-box thinking on steroids, and your brain will feel like you’ve had an incredible workout after just five minutes. And when you get tired of avoiding the letter E, pick another popular letter such as R, S, T, L, A, or N.
Course Manual 2: Types of Thinking
“We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.” ― Santosh Kalwar
Some argue that there are as many different types of thinking as there are people who think them.
No, it does not. In fact, such statements demonstrate extremely poor reasoning.
To give these people the benefit of the doubt, it is true that different types of thinking interact with one another. This “mixing” of ideas can make the list appear infinite.
And here’s the game-changer you must be aware of:
There is a distinction to be made between types of thinking and methods of thinking. It’s helpful to know which ones you want to identify and improve.
There can only be one Superman now. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have some level of super brain.
There are seven different types of thinking to be exact. Each shows how the brain organizes and processes information. Here’s how to find yours.
**Keep the following two central questions in mind:
• What is thinking, and why does it matter?
• In what ways do I already think this way in my daily life?
7 Types of Thinking
One: Critical Thinking
Analyzing a variety of factors is part of critical thinking. For example, consider the value of an idea and divide it by the form the idea takes.
Assume someone is enraged and yells at you about their desire to change. You would be able to find the value in the suggestion without missing out because the form of address was unfriendly.
In other words, critical thinking enables you to contextualize information and reason objectively about it.
Two: Analytical Thinking
Analytical thinking, as opposed to critical thinking, is concerned with examining the components of an argument. It examines the process in greater depth.
Analytical thinking is usually accompanied by research. The data at hand will not satisfy you as an analytical thinker. You will seek multiple examples in order to compare and contrast the various components of several examples or case studies.
Developing your reflective thinking skills will be extremely beneficial in this area.
Three: Creative Thinking
Edward de Bono is widely regarded as a pioneer in the field of creative thinking. It was a process for him of discovering solutions that would not be obvious under normal circumstances.
De Bono created a number of processes to assist people, the most famous of which is lateral thinking.
Consider digging holes to visualize this type of metacognition. As de Bono points out, most people dig one hole and then dig another in a different location if they don’t find the answer they’re looking for.
Lateral thinking, on the other hand, creates sideways and diagonal tunnels. Furthermore, it does not throw away the dirt as if it were obscuring the solution. It comes up with new ways to use the dirt.
De Bono’s practices are worth investigating if you want to improve your creative thinking. It’s important to note, however, that “creative” isn’t the right word because no one is “creating” anything new.
It’s more about repurposing existing processes in novel ways to generate new ideas that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. And, as Leslie Owen Wilson points out, creative thinking often entails taking risks as you add layers of complexity to existing processes.
Four: Conceptual or Abstract Thinking
Symbols are the starting point for abstract thinking.
There’s no reason why the shape of the letter ‘A’ should be pronounced the way we do in English. In fact, it’s pronounced quite differently in other languages, such as German.
Understanding that fact is a simple example of abstract thinking. Later, the use of the letter ‘A’ as a symbol in logical and mathematical contexts provides a more complex example.
Jean Piaget had a significant impact on the description of this technique. According to his cognitive development theory, children begin developing basic symbolic thinking abilities between the ages of 2 and 7.
They progress to developing logical reasoning skills between the ages of 7 and 11. Everything after that is basically devoted to abstract thinking, and we don’t stop until death.
Study subjects such as: to improve your abstract thinking abilities.
• Game theory
• Logical thinking
• Play with figurative language
• Practice visualization meditation
• Use a Memory Palace
• Learn other languages
**Later in this course, we’ll be going deeper into conceptual thinking and how it can benefit your success in the workplace.
Five: Perceptual or Concrete Thinking
Concrete thinking is concerned with taking the world literally – or attempting to do so. It’s also known as literal thinking.
This type of thinking prompts you to seek specific examples. When someone makes a claim, you want to know what makes it true, why the evidence supports the claim, and how it does so.
People sometimes avoid concrete thinking because they don’t want to appear obstinate. However, we need more people to insist on evidence that backs up the claims people make, well… concretely.
To improve in this area, ask lots of who, what, when, where, and why questions. And then follow up by employing some of the characteristics of analytical thinking, such as conducting thorough research on your own.
Six: Convergent Thinking
Convergent thinkers seek examples that reveal commonalities and reject the distortion of having a plethora of wild ideas flying around. They do this in order to find the best solutions to problems.
NASA provides numerous examples of convergent thinking, which is essentially the same as linear thinking. The Apollo 13 mission, for example, faced a critical situation in which they needed to obtain enough energy to safely complete the mission – and save their own lives.
To solve the problem, they had to limit themselves to only using the materials they had on hand. As a result, they were able to arrive at the best possible solution quickly and reasonably.
If you want to improve this type of thinking, solving puzzles with only the pieces you have, and no outside parts provides excellent practice. Escape rooms are excellent for this, as are games such as Hunt a Killer, in which you solve crimes solely based on the evidence provided.
Seven: Divergent Thinking
Let us continue with the NASA example.
When Apollo 13 was in danger, someone apparently suggested using a flashlight to generate more energy.
Because the space shuttle team lacked a flashlight, they had to rely on convergent thinking to find a solution.
However, this does not rule out the possibility of a wild idea like “flashlight.” Sometimes you need to use nonlinear thinking to spark ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
Divergent thinking is similar to lateral thinking in some ways. In this case, it’s usually best to work in groups.
Consider hosting an “Idea Party” to help you improve. I’ve gone to these for entrepreneurs and people who need help getting a passion project off the ground.
Each person is given a few minutes to describe their project. The audience then spends 10-15 minutes sharing their best ideas and resources for bringing the idea to life. It’s a powerful exercise because it forces many different types of thinkers to respond in a variety of ways in a short period of time.
How to Develop Conceptual Thinking
Employees at all levels of an organization can benefit from developing and applying soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, and time management. Many people can benefit from conceptual thinking, but few are aware of its existence. The application of conceptual thinking can significantly improve employees’ understanding of their role in the larger organization as well as their work products. In this article, we define conceptual thinking, describe how to begin thinking conceptually, and provide workplace examples of conceptual thinking.
What exactly is conceptual thinking?
The practice of connecting abstract, disparate ideas to deepen understanding, generate new ideas, and reflect on past decisions is known as conceptual thinking. Abstract concepts, such as the function of a complex business or a nonlinear digital process, are easily understood by conceptual thinkers. They can draw connections between disparate concepts to generate novel ideas and reflect on past decisions to improve future outcomes. This soft skill is valuable for a variety of reasons and is applicable to individuals in a variety of positions within a company.
What is the significance of conceptual thinking?
Conceptual thinking is necessary for improved job performance and job satisfaction. Because they can connect abstract ideas, employees who practice conceptual thinking are more likely to find and implement creative and innovative solutions to business challenges. Conceptual thinkers frequently find greater satisfaction and commitment to their jobs because they recognize the value that the work they do brings to the company and the customer.
Who uses conceptual thinking?
Conceptual thinking is frequently encouraged and applied by managers and other company leaders but developing conceptual thinking skills can benefit any employee. Managers and other leaders must recognize the links between departments and make efforts to keep the company united. All employees, however, can improve their work performance by practicing conceptual thinking in order to improve their abstract thinking and problem-solving skills.
How to Start Thinking Conceptually
With focus and practice, you can develop and improve your conceptual thinking abilities. Use the following steps to improve your conceptual thought processing and work performance and dedication:
1. Observe leadership.
Leaders frequently use conceptual thinking in their daily tasks and responsibilities. Examine how your company’s leadership identifies disparate concepts and makes connections between them. Examine how they transfer processes from one department to another to determine whether a new procedure improves work performance.
2. Use Challenges as case studies
When confronted with a work challenge, use it as an opportunity to conduct a conceptual thinking case study. Begin by considering how the problem might be handled by other departments within the organization. Consider previous challenges and what worked and what didn’t. Find additional abstract connections to create a one-of-a-kind solution.
3. Seek outside expertise
Abstract connections are essential for conceptual thinking. Seek information from outside sources to solve insider problems. Examine how organizations outside your industry handle challenges. See how combining ideas can result in an entirely new outcome.
4. Keep up on industry news and trends.
Keep up to date on changes in your own industry. Learn how industry leaders are innovating work processes, products, and other business elements to improve their operations. Consider how you could incorporate some of these practices into your own work.
5. Implement new practices
Once you’ve identified a variety of interesting processes, ideas, and procedures from both within and outside your industry, try incorporating some of them into your job to see what works and what doesn’t. Track your progress and reflect on your experiments to improve further.
6. Brainstorm ideas with coworkers
Inquire with your coworkers about any connections they see within the organization that can improve work performance and product. Propose new ideas and inquire how your colleagues might apply them to their own work.
7. Find a mentor
Look for a mentor in your field. Find someone who regularly engages in conceptual thinking and can assist you in developing the skill for yourself. Examine how they apply conceptual thinking to their own work and seek guidance as you connect disparate concepts and come up with unique solutions.
8. Learn about the organization
Learn how your company or organization works. Create a clear picture of how each department helps the others and how everyone in the company works together to achieve the same goal. Spend time with departments with which you do not normally interact and learn about their contributions to the company’s mission.
Conceptual Thinking Examples:
Depending on your job and industry, conceptual thinking can take many forms. Use the following examples to help you apply conceptual thinking to your work:
Consider the project’s outcomes. After completing a project, take a moment to consider what went well and what could be improved. Take into account the outcome for yourself and other stakeholders.
Evaluate the applicability of proposed solutions. Consider how the outcome will affect other, seemingly unconnected members of the organization before implementing a solution.
Create organizational frameworks and models. Create mind maps, flow charts, or other visual representations of the company’s hierarchical structure. Visualizing the organization can assist you in keeping all internal stakeholders in mind as you work.
Determine how your work benefits the entire organization. Consider how your daily obligations
Apply various concepts to projects. Develop innovative concepts for your work using the knowledge you’ve gained from outside sources, mentors, and other resources.
Experiment with identifying the context and purpose. When given a new project or assignment, consider its context within the larger organization as well as its purpose in promoting the company.
Plan your operations. Check that your operations are in line with your company’s goals. Evaluate and improve your operational plans on a regular basis to maximize your time and deliverables.
How to Determine Your Thinking Type
Knowing how you think allows you to understand:
• What inspires you to move and act?
• Why do you find certain things difficult or boring, and what you can do to improve areas of your life so you can achieve your goals
• What is the most effective method for you to manage people?
• How to Improve Your Team Dynamics with Your Peers
• How to Improve Your Personal Productivity and Growth Mindset
As Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest trainer Jim Kwik puts it, “we need to understand how our minds work so we can work our minds better.”
So, how would you describe your thinking style? Logical? Creative? Rational? Or do you think in terms of abstractions?
If you’re unsure, there are tests out there that can help you determine your thinking style. You can also use a ‘thinking types of framework’ that can help you map it out.
Framework for Thinking Types
Mark Bonchek and Elisa Steele created this method. People, according to them, have a typical area of focus on ideas, processes, action, or relationships, with an orientation toward the big picture or the details.
The following is a two-step explanation of how to read the thinking type framework.
Step One: Focus
Consider where you typically direct the majority of your attention. It’s similar to when you go to see a movie — do you prefer action, romance, drama, or mystery?
One way to really focus is to ask yourself what comes to mind first when you wake up in the morning.
Consider the following…
• Do you have any issues that you need to resolve?
• You need to make plans?
• What actions must you take?
• Who are the people you need to see or manage?
These responses will assist you in determining which of the four key areas to which you devote the most attention — ideas, process, action, or relationships. It’s not so much about choosing one over the other as it is about where your ‘default’ focus naturally lands.
Step Two: Orientation
Now, notice whether your focus shifts toward the micro (the details) or the macro (the big picture).
Consider what bothers you most in meetings to help you identify this orientation. So, consider whether you are more likely to become demotivated when things are overly detailed or when they are overly general and insufficiently specific.
Micro (the specifics):
• The goal of expert thinking is to achieve objectivity and insight.
• Optimizer thinking is concerned with increasing productivity and efficiency.
• Producers are concerned with achieving completion and momentum.
• Coach thinking is about developing people and their potential.
The macro (big picture):
• The goal of explorer thinking is to generate creative ideas.
• -The goal of planner thinking is to create efficient systems.
• -The goal of energizer thinking is to get people to act.
• -Relationships are built and strengthened through connector thinking.
With this two-step framework, you’re thinking type becomes a very useful tool — a social currency, if you will — that you can use to your advantage in order to progress toward your higher self.
Exercise 8.2: Mind Mapping
Here’s a fun creative exercise that will completely turn your current ideas on their head. In this exercise, you’re going to think of everything that won’t help in your current situation.
What You’ll Need:
– Dry Erase Board
1. Start with your problem or situation in the center of the mind map.
2. Think for a few minutes about the logical solutions you would normally come up with. Write them down if it helps.
3. Now turn this on its head, forget everything logical or “right”.
4. Instead, write down every single thing you can think of that will ruin the current situation. Add each idea as a new branch on the mind map.
5. Go deeper into each brand and add sub-branches that take things through to their worst possible conclusion.
Why Is This Exercise Helpful?
Logically, we all try to see why things will work, and choose the most logical answers. Or, if we do come up with a negative idea, we’re quick to question it. However, by doing the opposite of that in this exercise you’ll actually open your mind up in a way you’re not used to.
Course Manual 3: Thinking Process
Ready to sharpen your thinking skills? In this course we will reveal multiple thought process examples and sure-fire tools you can use to improve your thinking.
What Exactly Are Thought Processes?
A thought process, according to researchers, can be both conscious and unconscious. In fact, your mind can process multiple thoughts at the same time.
As a result, the precise definition of a thought process is straightforward:
It is occupied with the stuff of thought.
It is concerning that many of your thoughts are occurring outside of your awareness. Although many positive thought processes stimulate our creativity and problem-solving abilities, Daniel Kahneman’s research has revealed that we are vulnerable to many cognitive biases.
Cognitive bias is any of a variety of thought processes that lead to us taking shortcuts. As a result, we distort reality and make irrational decisions.
As a result, it’s a good idea to become acquainted with as many thought processes as possible.
Different Types of Thought Processes (with Examples)
Don’t just read the following list passively as an exercise. Consider a time when you either thought these thoughts or witnessed others thinking in these ways.
Write down your personal examples and observations for the best results.
Also consider whether each thought process is positive, negative, neutral, or a combination.
1. Associative Thinking
It is essential to be able to see how one thing connects to another. The ability to think in terms of associations develops early in healthy children. Most of us improve as we get older because more life experiences create pattern recognition.
For example, we frequently associate events in our lives with mythological patterns. If someone is greedy, you might compare them to King Midas or say that Pandora’s box has been opened. Pattern recognition stimulates this type of associative thinking.
It also does not have to be Greek myths. Since 1999, it has been very common for people in the Internet age to respond to certain events by saying, “It’s just like in The Matrix.”
Freud famously asked his patients to engage in free association, which led to the development of many new psychological therapies and procedures, including the Rorshach test.
And the term “association” is widely used. In order to come up with interesting and unique ideas, creative people frequently allow themselves to follow random trains of thought. Mind mapping is used by students, and association is a key mnemonic strategy.
2. Abductive Thinking
This way of thinking entails drawing conclusions from observations. Sherlock Holmes is one of the most well-known examples of inferential thinking. It is also used by real-life detectives.
A simple way to think about this thought process is that you’re reaching a conclusion without having all of the information. When you arrive at a crime scene and discover a bloodied knife, you can reasonably conclude that it is the murder weapon. But you don’t know because you’re inducing the conclusion.
It is worth noting that many people confuse this type of thinking with deductive reasoning. So, let’s take a look at that next.
3. Deductive Thinking
Deductive thinking is frequently formulaic. It is typically composed of a “if this, then that” structure. For example, you can deduce that if you don’t get on the freeway before rush hour, you’ll be late for work.
In contrast to induction, in which you draw a conclusion from an incomplete picture, you have a complete picture of how traffic works on the highway.
When there is a lot of evidence, deductive reasoning is usually easier to test. There are three major types to learn:
• Modus ponens
• Modus tollens
Check out these critical thinking book recommendations to help you even more.
Inductive and deductive thinking combine to form what we commonly refer to as logical or rational thinking.
4. Social Thinking
We like to think of ourselves as unique individuals.
That could not be further from the truth!
Humans speak a variety of languages, and none of the words or phrases are unique to any one person. Rather, we work together to keep this communication tool evolving.
We are increasingly using the Internet to communicate in our native languages. Students use it to study together, which entails working together to achieve common goals.
In this regard, we can also consider transpersonal thinking. When we realize that the individual’s role isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, we can transcend the ego and dissolve into the great river of life.
Does that sound abstract? Never be afraid. That type of thinking will be addressed next.
5. Abstract Thinking – Thinking Outside the Box
To think abstractly is to physically distance oneself from an idea or concept.
We just did that by considering how language is not owned by any single person, even if it is experienced in unique ways.
This is an “abstract” thought because we’re looking at the entire species rather than the individual.
This is a nuanced thought process, so if you’re interested, you can read more about abstract thinking with other examples.
5. Concrete Thinking
Concrete thinking is concerned with concepts that are directly related to material reality. For example, you could consider how things feel and make mental comparisons and contrasts.
An orange and an apple, for example, feel more similar than an orange and the handle of a shovel.
Another example is referring to rain as “pounding.”
6. Analogical Thinking
Analogical thinking entails drawing parallels and assuming that what is true for one thing is also true for the other.
We can use them effectively, for example, when we say that an argument is going in circles. When the same points come up again and again, it feels like they are on a loop.
However, analogies frequently fail because things are rarely as similar as they appear. Keep an eye out for anyone who says, “it’s like x.” Although the comparison they are about to make appears to make sense on the surface, the connection is all too often superficial.
7. Analytical Thinking
Analysis entails literally disassembling things.
When a Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass participant When we approach a problem, we’re attempting to solve, we can analyze it by looking for the individual components.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t consider the problem in its entirety. Analytical thinking, on the other hand, starts with the premise that everything is made up of parts.
Deconstruction is a philosophical concept that describes an analytical process that reveals how many of our most cherished truths were constructed over time. It’s a twist on what Nietzsche called “genealogical thinking.”
A simple way to improve at this type of thinking is to practice observing and questioning everything.
8. Linear Thinking
Linear thinking is all about structure and adhering to a specific process.
However, this does not make it boring.
In fact, Triz is one of the most intriguing collections of linear thinking tools on the planet. It’s also extremely creative.
Nonlinear thinkers are thought to use fewer structures or to intentionally introduce randomness.
The German band Einstürzende Neubauten, for example, creates new songs by drawing ideas and roles from a hat. Although the singer is not a world-class drummer, he will play percussion while writing a new song if he chooses a slip that requires him to do so.
Although this type of creativity appears to be nonlinear and “outside the box,” it is procedural and linear in its own right. If we use analytical thinking to “deconstruct” the concept of linear thinking, we may discover that there is no such thing as nonlinear thinking at all.
9. Reflective Thinking
Making time to reflect is extremely important.
It’s simple and easy to do, and there are many powerful reflective thinkers to be inspired by.
Simply put, find a quiet place to sit, write down your thoughts, and use analytical thinking to sort, sift, and screen through the material of your mind.
It’s ideal for assisting yourself in making better decisions and broadening your mind.
10. Counterfactual Thinking
We frequently think of alternative histories as fiction. A common example is Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.
However, considering what might have happened in our daily lives is extremely beneficial.
What our life would be like if we made different choices.
Next, consider the polar opposite of this type of thinking. It’s also extremely useful.
If counterfactual thinking entails imagining alternative past scenarios, speculative thinking entails imagining two or more possible future outcomes.
Dan Sullivan’s “dangers, opportunities, strengths” routine is a simple exercise for thinking about your future.
You can imagine a practical path forward for your future by asking yourself questions about these three core areas.
You can also use journaling as a powerful exercise.
12. Decisive Thinking
When it comes to the future, you’ll never get there unless you can make decisions.
Decisive by Dan and Chip Heath contains one of my favorite problem-solving models. It’s known as the W.R.A.P. technique:
• Widen your options
• Reality check
• Attain distance
• Prepare to fail
Because you’re making the tool a rule of thumb, using step-by-step decision processes like this is always considered “heuristic thinking.”
This technique has been linked to a much older tool called Ars combinatoria, which you might want to learn about if you want to master multiple thought processes.
Have you ever heard of Zen?
It’s a rather radical philosophy that helps you realize that the present moment is all we really have – and because it passes so quickly, the idea that we have it at all is an illusion.
The great masters of meditation use metacognition to realize this fact and hold onto it so that you can experience lasting mental peace.
To become a master yourself, you simply need to cultivate an awareness of how your own thoughts operate, as well as a meta-level awareness of how your thoughts about your thoughts operate.
There is a great book called, The Victorious Mind that showcases this way of thinking.
This type of thinking is also known as “mindfulness thinking.”
14. Skeptical Thinking
We’ve saved the most important mode of thought for last. And I want you to apply it to everything we just discussed.
Because questioning the validity of people’s claims is one of the most powerful things you can do.
• Consider your options.
• Conduct your own research.
You risk being naive if you don’t.
You don’t want to go overboard, of course. It’s also beneficial to be curious and to give certain things the benefit of the doubt on occasion.
This is where you’ll want to use your discernment, which is why practicing all of the skills on this page will be extremely beneficial in the long run.
Thought Elements (Tools of Thinking)
The various components of the thinking process can be summarized as follows. We usually rely on these elements or tools in various thought processes.
Images are personal experiences of objects, people, or scenes that have been seen, heard, or felt. These mental images represent actual objects, experiences, and activities.
A concept is a ‘general ide’ that represents the common property of all the objects or events in a general class. The concepts, as a tool, save us time and effort in thinking.
3. Signs and symbols:
Symbols and signs are substitutes for actual objects, experiences, and activities. The symbolic expression is represented by traffic lights, railway signals, school bells, badges, songs, flags, and slogans.
Language is the most efficient and developed vehicle for carrying out the thinking process.
5. Muscle exercises:
A strong positive correlation has been discovered between an individual’s thinking and muscular activities.
6. Mind functions:
Thinking is primarily a brain function. Our mind, or brain, is said to be the primary tool for carrying out the process of thought.
7. Methods of Thinking:
Some of the methods you’ll want to explore include using all of the Types of Thinking found in Course Manual 8:2 are in the form of:
• Mind mapping
“The student reflects rarely and unconsciously. The smart reflects daily and consciously. The master lets it go.” – Maxime Lagacé
How to Improve Your Thinking Skills
Completing critical thinking exercises is the best way to see significant improvements in your thinking abilities.
In addition, you’ll want to improve your:
• Reading techniques
• Comprehension of reading
• Visualization abilities
• Memory Palace abilities (See exercise below)
Above all, you should make time to study great thinkers as well as practice thinking.
All it takes is dedication and consistency.
What’s more, the best part?
You now have new ways to consider increasing your commitment and consistency by employing tools such as analytical thinking and speculative thinking to become the architect of your future.
So, what do you think?
Are you ready to experience various types of thought?
Dive right in!
Exercise 8:3: Memory Palace
The Memory Palace is one of the most effective memory techniques around. It’s not only effective, but also enjoyable to use — and it’s not difficult to learn.
The Memory Palace technique is based on the fact that we are exceptionally good at remembering familiar places. A ‘Memory Palace’ is a metaphor for any well-known location that can be easily visualized. It could be the inside of your house or the route you take to work every day. That familiar location will serve as your guide for storing and recalling any type of information. Let us see how it works firsthand with this exercise.
The Memory Palace Technique in 5 Easy Steps (Have the facilitator walk everyone through each step)
1. Select Your Palace
First and foremost, choose a location that you are very familiar with. The technique’s effectiveness is dependent on your ability to mentally see and walk around in that location with ease. You should be able to ‘be there’ at will using only your imagination.
A good starting point could be your own home. Remember that the more vividly you can picture the details of that location, the more effective your memorization will be.
Also, instead of just visualizing a static scene, try to define a specific route in your palace. Instead of simply picturing your house, imagine a specific walkthrough. This improves the technique.
Here are some additional suggestions for Memory Palaces, as well as possible routes:
• Streets in your city that you are familiar with. Possible routes include your commute to work or any other set of streets you are familiar with.
• A current or previous school. You can visualize the path from the classroom to the library (or, if you prefer, to the bar on the other side of the street).
• Working environment Consider the route from your cubicle to the coffee machine or your boss’s office (it shouldn’t be difficult to decide).
• Scenery. Consider walking around your neighborhood or jogging in a nearby park.
2. List Distinctive Characteristics
You must now pay close attention to specific features in the location you have chosen. If you chose a walkthrough in your own home, the front door would most likely be the most noticeable feature.
Now take a mental stroll around your Memory Palace. What’s in the first room after you walk through the door?
Methodically examine the space (you may define a standard procedure, such as always looking from left to right, for example). What is the next feature that piques your interest? It could be the dining room’s central table or a picture on the wall.
Make mental notes of those features as you go. Each of them will be a “memory slot” that you will later use to store information.
3. Imprint the Palace on Your Mind
The most important thing for the technique to work is to have the location or route completely imprinted in your mind. Do whatever it takes to truly commit it to memory. If you’re a visual person, you’ll probably have no trouble with this. Otherwise, here are some pointers:
Physically walk through the route, repeating the distinguishing features as you see them out loud.
Write down the chosen features on paper and mentally walk through them, repeating them aloud.
Always examine the features from the same angle.
Keep in mind that visualization is merely a skill. If you’re still having trouble with this, you might want to consider developing your visualization skills first.
When you think you’re finished, go over it again. It’s critical to “overlearn” your way around your Memory Palace.
You’re ready once you’re certain that the route is imprinted in your mind. You now have your Palace, which you can use to memorize just about anything you want.
It’s time to put your palace to good use now that you’ve mastered it.
The Memory Palace technique, like most memory enhancement systems, relies on visual associations. The procedure is straightforward: you combine a known image, known as the memory peg, with the element you want to remember. Each memory peg, in our opinion, is a distinct feature of our Memory Palace.
You can learn more about the memory pegging technique in the article ‘Improve Your Memory by Speaking Your Mind’s Language,’ found in the resource section of this Course manual – so please read it if you haven’t already.
*** Make it ridiculous, offensive, unusual, extraordinary, animated, and nonsensical — after all, these are the things that people remember, aren’t they? Make the scene so one-of-a-kind that it could never occur in real life. The only rule is that if it’s boring, it’s not right.
5. Visit Your Palace
You are now finished memorizing the items. If you’re new to the technique, you’ll probably need to do some mental rehearsal, repeating the journey at least once.
If you start from the same point and take the same route, the memorized items will instantly come to mind as you look at the journey’s chosen features. Pay attention to those features and replay the scenes in your mind as you travel from the beginning to the end of your route. When you reach the end of your route, turn around and walk backwards until you reach your starting point.
In the end, it all comes down to honing your visualization abilities. The easier and more effective your memorization will be the more relaxed you are.
**Be sure to share your experience in doing this exercise with the group.
Course Manual 4: Critical Thinking
“You have a brain and mind of your own. Use it and reach your own decisions.”—Napoleon Hill
Imagine how much better your life would be if there was a way to make the best decisions every day.
There is, and it is known as critical thinking.
Mastering the skill of critical thinking can have a profoundly positive impact on almost every aspect of your life.
Much has been said in praise of critical thinking over the centuries. Over the years, many great critical thinkers have shared their wisdom.
Plato’s account of Socrates’ teachings is the first documented account of critical thinking.
The definition of critical thinking has evolved over time.
Most critical thinking definitions are fairly complex and best understood by philosophy majors or psychologists.
Here’s the Wiki definition of critical thinking:
Critical thinking is the analysis of available facts, evidence, observations, and arguments to form a judgement. The subject is complex; several different definitions exist, which generally include the rational, skeptical, and unbiased analysis or evaluation of factual evidence. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities as well as a commitment to overcome native egocentrism and sociocentrism.
Why is Critical Thinking Important?
Asking why something matters can help you:
• Set it in context
• Discover its history.
• Disassemble and examine its components
For example, we know that human civilization began only when people began to think.
The more you can rest and think, the more you can think about how to maximize your free time, which is ultimately what gave rise to the Internet, which we now use to communicate with one another.
And that was most likely only possible because our forefathers discovered how to irrigate land for farming.
Although human history is obviously more complicated than that, it is also quite simple: if you don’t have to spend all of your time hunting and foraging for food, you have more time to rest and think.
This means that more free time and improved interpersonal communication make critical thinking even more important.
Because the better you become at critical thinking, the more free time and better communication you will have.
11 Wonderful Benefits of Critical Thinking
One: Critical thinking allows you to gain experience in a variety of disciplines
Do you want to be able to think more quickly?
Make use of “mental rotation.”
This is how it works:
Assume you’ve been assigned a problem to solve, such as inner-city poverty.
It’s a huge advantage to be able to look at a problem from multiple angles rather than just one. You can, for example, mentally cycle through:
• Political viewpoints
• Perspectives on psychology
• Biological viewpoints
• Perspectives from Ethnography
• Perspectives from the Past
• Economic Prospects
• Perspectives on ethics
The critical thinking benefits of “rotating” through these perspectives occur as a result of your thinking skills being exercised. As your perspective broadens, you will be able to identify more potential options for the next benefit.
Two: Avoid Unnecessary Problems
The more perspectives you have, the more mental models you can navigate. These models (such as the ones listed above) assist you in imagining various outcomes.
Essentially, you enable yourself to create multiple versions of the W.R.A.P. technique taught in the Ars combinatoria training, (that we shared in the last course manual) which is an early critical thinking tool you might want to investigate. It is just one of several critical thinking strategies that you should learn.
Of course, not all problems are avoidable, and it is unrealistic to believe that critical thinking will result in a friction-free paradise.
However, while some decisions will always create new issues, you can significantly reduce the negative impact of those decisions in advance simply by thinking things through with the broadest range of perspectives.
Three: Brain Exercise
Critical thinking provides brain exercise for several reasons.
When you switch between multiple perspectives, you promote cognitive switching. According to research, this mental movement is the equivalent of walking for your heart and lungs. Only in this case are the advantages directed at your brain.
In this case, you’ll reap even more benefits because of how critical thinking is applied in conversations. A fit brain, for example, is much more likely to use objective reasoning and avoid the pitfalls of subjective reasoning.
Four: Personal Time Increases
We’ve now discussed how critical thinking was used to help entire societies increase their free time. This also works on an individual level.
For example, if you run an online business and want more free time, nothing beats applying critical thinking skills to how you can delegate certain tasks.
If you’re a student, you can learn techniques like interleaving, which is just one of several genuine methods for reading faster.
Five: Communication and Your Use of Language Improves
When you study critical thinking, you will learn new vocabulary, just like any other skill.
Learning new words directly leads to improved language skills.
You’ll also get a sense of which words and phrases to use in which situations.
Linking thinking to improved language use has always been a part of the memory tradition discussed on this blog. It dates back to at least 90 BCE, when it was codified in Rhetorica and Herrenium.
Six: Scientific Living Enhances Health
When you use your mind effectively, you will be able to make much better health-related decisions.
For starters, rather than always taking your doctor’s word for it, you’ll learn to understand the math behind their decisions and determine how much of it applies to you.
This also applies to the use of language. How many people are aware that “doctor” is the Latin word for “teacher”?
You’ll probably make much better health decisions if you start thinking about your own medical professionals in this light and treat them as a starting point for educating yourself.
Furthermore, knowing the origins of words is an important skill for critical thinkers because it allows you to think on your feet faster.