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Last Updated on October 31, 2019

What Is Logical Thinking and How to Strengthen It

What Is Logical Thinking and How to Strengthen It

When we say that something is logical, what we actually mean is that it makes sense. Logical reasoning skills are the ability to focus on the presented task by following the chain of the thought process by relating one statement after another, until finding the most logical conclusion.

Although many won’t notice, all of us face challenges on a daily basis which we overcome thanks to our reasoning skills. While calculating the prices in the supermarket, just to check if we can get everything we need for a lower price, or while trying to fit all our obligations into a single day, our thinking machine spins its wheels to find the perfect solution.

However, if you find yourself lost at the register, well, you might need to work on logical thinking development.

Division of Labor in Our Brains – The Left Hemisphere Is More Involved in Logical Thinking

The brain is a complex structure[1] divided into two hemispheres – the right and left.

Although the districts interact with each other, the truth is that one side is always more dominant than the other. Regarding this division, every side has its own purpose and a specific thinking style. For example, the right side is in charge of emotions and creativity, whereas the left side brings control to the mix and provides logic when things seem confusing.

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However, the right side of daydreaming can affect the process of logical thinking as well. According to researchers,[2] the logical reasoning performance is modulated by the emotional state. What is more interesting is that most children are ranked as being highly creative[3] before going to a logic-oriented school. Or at least it used to be, as the school system now offers some chance for creative outlets such as art and crafts.

The left side of the brain improves the understanding of math and science, as it processes the information from a part to a whole. Those sequences hidden in numbers, symbols, and letters are much clearer when arranged in logical order.

On the other hand, the right side looks at the entire picture, only so that it can break it into smaller parts. Likewise, the right side people love concrete things they can smell, feel or taste and have trouble verbally expressing.

The logical side of the left hemisphere includes:

  • Logic;
  • Facts;
  • Details;
  • Patterns;
  • Strategies;
  • Words;
  • Language;
  • Order;
  • Perception;
  • Past & Present;
  • Practicality;
  • Safety;
  • Comprehension;

Logical Thinking Is Not an Inborn Talent, But Something You Can Learn and Practice

Enhancing logical reasoning is simply learning to pay a closer attention to details. Therefore, there are a few easy techniques to help you overcome thinking obstacles and really focus.

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Stop Viewing Things from Your Own Perspective Only

To advance logical thinking process, it is crucial to differentiate established facts from personal observations. Concentrating on the environment and your senses is just individual perception, which mustn’t be confused with logic.

For example, let’s say that two people got together to share a meal. To one person the dish smells repelling, while the other is enjoying their lunch. The first person didn’t like the smell, so they concluded that the meal is inedible, unhealthy and not properly prepared. This is not a logical way of coming to the correct conclusion.

First of all, person A didn’t have any supporting evidence of the food being unhealthy or poorly made. Consequently, conclusions drawn from this observation are inadequate.

In order to get to a logical conclusion, one must shut off their own skewed opinions, and focus on proven information like the ingredients used to prepare a dish, ways of cooking the food, and the equipment used to prepare it, so that they can form a clear statement. Apart from the observed facts, the conclusion must also be drawn from culinary knowledge and not based upon calculated guesses.

Think Before You Start Doing – Create a Strategy

Since logical thinking implies noticing all the details and putting them together one by one until the picture becomes clear as day, strategy plays a major role in the thinking process. Learning to think strategically will not only power the brain, but it can also help you deal with business obligations faster and more proficiently. And how do you develop such useful skill?

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Start by questioning everything and trying to interpret repetitive patterns. Learn from mistakes so that you can anticipate what is ahead. Keep the mind constantly active and look for details and learn how they function individually and in the group before focusing on the bigger picture.

Dig into the Meaning of Words Carefully

As the logic is more verbal, the slight language variations make a big difference. Knowing the difference between statements will definitely tighten up the loose screws of logical thinking.

If you hear “necessary” in a statement, you immediately know there is a condition that needs to be fulfilled, unlike “sufficient” which denotes a minimal level of effort that will lead to a positive outcome. Every condition has a slight alteration in meaning, just as the word order in a sentence carries a certain meaning.

It is not the same if someone says: “if you do that, then you will get the reward” and “if you got the reward, then it was because I told you to do that”. It may not be detected at first, however, the variation still exists. In the first sentence there is a condition by which a person gets the reward, yet in the second it is inverse, meaning that it contradicts the first statement and its conclusion.

Enhance Your Logical Thinking at Leisure – Games and Mystery Books

Every day we escape into the digital world searching for a new form of entertainment. But why not use it for improving our logical reasoning? Math doesn’t have to be boring if used as a game.

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There are plenty of mental challenges online or in a form of an app to boost our memory and our logical thinking. One can even benefit from Facebook Poker games. Playing card games makes you more focused and analytical, hence, it activates the left side of the brain.

Also, getting lost in a mystery book is not only for the right brainers. Actually, a good puzzle book can help you work on the strategical thinking process through solving all the different enigmas within. The same goes for a game of chess.

Even geniuses were not born all-knowing; they studied, explored, and worked on their logical thinking skills. So, use the simple methods listed above in your day-to-day life to improve not just your logical thinking, but also your overall productivity. After conquering the field of logical reasoning no one will ever be able to call you an unrealistic dreamer again.

Featured photo credit: Volkan Olmez via unsplash.com

Reference

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Vladimir Zivanovic

CMO at MyCity-Web

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

There are several perspectives on the term systems thinking. The discipline goes beyond a collection of tools and techniques. A lot of individuals are fascinated by tools like brainstorming tools, structural thinking tools, dynamic thinking tools, as well as computer-based tools. They believe the system thinking tools can make them smarter and productive. However, it goes beyond that as systems thinking is more strategic and sensitive to the environment we find ourselves.

So what is systems thinking and why is it good for you?

What Is Systems Thinking?

Systems thinking is a diagnostic tool that can help you to assess problems before taking action. It helps you to ask questions before arriving at conclusions. It prevents you from making an assumption, which is the lowest level of knowledge.

A systems thinker is curious, compassionate, and courageous. The systems thinking approach incorporates the act of seeing the big picture instead of seeing in parts. It recognizes that we are connected, and there are diverse ways to solve a problem.

Characteristics of Systems Thinking

Systems thinking can help you in analyzing the connections between subsystems and understanding their potentials to make smarter decisions.

In a soccer team, the elements are the coach, players, the field, and a ball. The interrelationships are strategies, communications among players, and game rules. The goal is to win, have fun and exercise. We all belong to several systems and subsystems.

Some characteristics of systems thinking include:

  • Issue is important
  • The issue is familiar with well-known patterns
  • Attempts have been made to resolve the issue.

Given these characteristics, systems thinking goes beyond an operational tool; it is a strategic approach and a philosophy.

How to Use Systems Thinking

Here’re 3 ways you can use systems thinking:

1. Understand How the System Works and Use Feedback Points

The first task is to know what system is all about and identify the leverage points or feedbacks that influence its functioning. This is what will help in adjusting the system.

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If you want the system to be productive, enhance the feedback points. If you want it to be less productive, exhaust the same points.

A good example is that of a bathtub. The leverage points are the faucet and the drain. If you forget to close the drain, having turned on the water, the water will never stop flowing, and the tub will never overflow.

If you want more water, close the drain while you turn the water. If otherwise, turn the faucet off and open the drain. You can apply this to your personal development.

Once you discover the feedback points in your life, find your leverage or feedback points, then enhance those points. If you want to be fit, get a trainer, find a mentor, or eat healthy foods.

2. Discover the Patterns, Structure, and Events

Trends and patterns could be compared to clues for a crossword puzzle. As you aspire to enhance the system, trends and patterns offer you hints and cause to shift your paradigm. Usually, they can direct you to unusual and unexpected aspects, to ideas, people, or places you have never thought about.

Smart people watch out for trends and patterns so they can be conversant with changes.

You can view the world from 3 different perspectives:

i. The Event Perspective

If you consider the world from an event perspective, the best you can do is to be smarter is ‘react’. You tend to be smarter by reacting quickly, becoming more lighter on your feet, and flexible as you advance through life.

So how do you view the world from an event perspective? You ask a question like, ‘What happened?’.

There is the possibility of becoming more aware and seeing more at this level. An excellent technique to achieve this is by telling a story to a group. If you can see beyond each event, see beyond patterns and trends, you will be empowered to anticipate, predict, and plan.

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ii. Pattern Perspective

To view the world from a pattern perspective, you need to ask, ‘What has been happening?’

It is most times difficult to see the actual size of an iceberg (underlying structures that are the causes of events). The waterline dissects what’s visible from what’s not visible.

A systems thinker does not assume from what’s visible only; he or she seeks to know what has been happening.

Take a look at this video to understand more about the Iceberg Theory:

 

iii. The Structure Perspective

To view the world from a structure perspective, you need to ask, ‘what is causing issues?’ The answers will be the factors and forces responsible.

If you find yourself in a traffic jam, you don’t blame the next driver as a smart person; you could ask, ‘what’s been causing the traffic jam?

The usual answers could be a decaying road surface, careless driver, or high speed, but that would be the same things identified as trends. What makes the structure perspective different from others.

The structure is what propels your energy. It is what affects happenings. A systems thinkers make deductions based on internal structures to arrive at a conclusion

3. People Problems vs System Problems

Several issues ranging from security breaches, product flaws, poverty, to transportation inefficiencies are systemic.

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Even when you misbehave, there is usually an internal system to blame.

If you are not productive in your business, it may not be caused by you. There may be a system that you need to enhance.

Do you remember our feedback points? As soon as you assess the system, you can focus on people. Is a new hire causing lag in the packaging process? Is poor communication affecting the team’s performance? Reallocating job roles may be a perfect leverage point.

In the traffic jam example, there could be a system-based solution such as installing traffic lights and subsequently enforcing traffic laws in the area to penalize reckless drivers.

How to Foster Learning with Systems Thinking

Systems thinking helps you to appreciate the interrelationships of people, organizations, policies, decisions, ideas, and relationships.

Peter M Senge propounded five disciplines that foster learning in your DNA- whether you are leading an organization, starting a venture, or working as a freelancer.[1]

1. Gain Mastery

You can take online courses, attend conferences, read blog articles and books, listen to podcasts, converse with leaders within and beyond your industry, watch documentaries, learn from your team, and stretch yourself by improving your skills.

2. Discover Your Assumptions and Biases

There was this parable of four blind men who made different assumptions about an elephant. Their assumptions and biases hinder them from understanding how the animal looks like.

Biases can rob you of innovation and prevent you from experiencing personal growth. To become aware of your biases, you have to take an internal trip and engage breakthrough thinking.

3. Establish Your Vision

Systems grind to a halt when the goal or mission is not defined. You will not have the motivation to complete the online course if you don’t know why you subscribe in the first place.

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Is it for career advancement? To up your game or to gain general knowledge? Vision inspires you.

4. Learn in Groups

There is power in shared learning. There is a solidification of understanding when you learn in a group. You can have the lessons etched in your long term memory.

For instance, you can join learning groups where information is shared weekly.

5. Think in Systems

Systems thinking is about lifelong learning and improvement. It has also been linked to the Iceberg principle, which affirms that visible events are insignificant compared to what’s visible. There’s more ice below the waterline than what you can see with your physical eyes.

Anytime you are battling with a challenge, think in systems. Understand the details of the issue. Discover your leverage points. Assess, adapt, and keep improving your models.

After all. If you meet a lion in the wild, you need to understand what you are facing.

Final Thoughts

You can foster systems thinking by modeling your own environment. Participate in training, watch TED Talks, and create time to connect with others.

Also, practice critical thinking instead of making assumptions before you make a decision. The more you think systems, the more you will become smarter and productive in every aspect of your life.

More to Help You Think Smarter

Featured photo credit: Olav Ahrens Røtne via unsplash.com

Reference

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