Thinking is an activity in the brain that is trying to make sense of our experiences and stored information. By using our mental abilities we develop thinking skills that help us to process data, solve problems, make decisions and come up with new ideas. We all have a way of thinking based on our own life experiences, interaction with others, and accumulated knowledge.

What means to be a good thinker?

We have to know how we think, and how we use our thinking skills, as this helps us to connect different information in a coherent way. We have to observe and know what is our style of thinking, and the dominant thinking pattern that comes out if it. Let’s take a quick look at thinking styles and see which one we practice more on a daily bases and how that affects our lives.

Creative thinking – “ thinking outside the box”, looking at things in a new way. This style of thinking it is also called lateral thinking; the ability to perceive what is not obvious to others. For example, to make a good detective you have to develop this style of thinking on finding important clues on a case. To be a good artist you have to come up with a new artistic style or expression.

Analytical thinking – the ability to solve problems quickly and effectively.

Critical thinking – the evaluation of facts. Before accepting any idea as a believe we have to ask questions and closely examine the evidence, assumption, and reasoning of what is said and done.

Concrete thinking – it is specific, focused on facts in the here and now, and physical objects. Children develop first concrete thinking. They can not think about an object if it is not physically present.

Abstract thinking – it is related to symbolic thinking, that uses symbols for an idea or object. The ability to think about objects, ideas, that are not physically present. Abstract thinkers are able to conceptualize and relate to less defined things that do not exist at the moment in their immediate frame of reference. Uses metaphors, analogy. Abstract thinking is not natural, but the product of the culture, life experience, learning, and teaching.

Divergent thinking – the person can see many possibilities available, even the one that is not so obvious. Opens your mind, instead of focusing only on “white” and “black” you ask and look for other options.

Convergent thinking – the person can see only a limited, predetermined number of possibilities. Most of the time people can see only two possibilities. For example;” I can be only a lawyer or nobody”. “ People can be only happy or unhappy”

Linear thinking – it is also called sequential thinking. Thinking in an orderly prescribed manner. It is the thinking that starts with an idea, and after follows with a series of steps, and finishes with an ending.

Holistic thinking – the ability to see that nothing stands alone, and everything is part of the whole. Thinking as a whole, including the many different parts of a complex system and the relationships between the parts. The concept of “wholeness” is not so easy to be assimilated as we have been educated mostly on linear thinking.

Global thinking – when we are focused on the bigger picture. We are not thinking only in terms of our own experiences, but we realize that people are worldwide connected. It examines if the individual is able to “see the forest and not the trees”

Detailed thinking – Excellent attention to details. The ability to break down full global experiences into component parts, and the ability to use the details to see the big picture. It examines if the individual is able to “see only the trees and not the forest”. There exists a tendency to overthink things.

Both, global thinking and detailed thinking are natural ways of thinking.

One day, without even noticing we develop a “favorite” way of thinking, that determines how we see ourselves and how we see the world around.

Stay Brave!

Maria Mitea

HealthYoga Therapist, Teacher, and Student,