Ways of Thinking

Ways of Thinking

Ways of Thinking Jonathan Poland

Ways of thinking refer to the mindsets and approaches that individuals use to form their ideas, opinions, decisions, and actions. These can be inherent to an individual’s character and tendencies, or they can be consciously developed over time. Ways of thinking can also be used temporarily to solve specific problems or overcome challenges. By understanding and adopting different ways of thinking, individuals can become more effective and adaptable in their approach to various situations.

Magical Thinking
Imagining that things will happen without any reason. For example, a CEO who imagines an AI system will solve a bunch of problems without being able to explain why or how in any comprehensible way.

Biases
Biases are patterns of failed logic. For example, the illusion of asymmetric insight whereby you believe you understand others better than they understand you.

Motivated Reasoning
Finding evidence and forming arguments for what you want to believe.

Objectivity
Evaluating evidence in a detached way without letting your worldview or motivation change your analysis.

Analytical Thinking
The process of breaking things down into parts to understand them. For example, looking at sales data to understand which products, regions and customers are driving a decline in revenue.

Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is a broad and non-specific term for systematic, methodical and objective thinking.

Emotion
Emotions are states of mind that color all thought. For example, thinking in a negative way because you feel melancholic.

Imagination
The ability to think in ways that differ from physical reality. A basic feature of human thought that is the key to creativity.

Counterfactural Thinking
Counterfactual thinking is the process of temporarily imagining that facts aren’t facts in order to find new ideas. For example, imagining how energy would be if fossil fuels didn’t exist.

Optimism
A state of mind that focuses on positive traits and potential.

Pessimism
A state of mind that focuses on negative traits and risk.

Defensive Pessimism
Defensive pessimism is the practice of using optimism to generate ideas and pessimism to validate them.

Idealism
The view that ideas create the world. Focuses on the intangible such as social constructs.

Realism
The view that only things that can be physically observed and measured are real. Focuses on the tangible.

Pragmatism
Pragmatism is the view that things both tangible and intangible are real if they are real for practical purposes. For example, the view that love is real because people commonly say they’ve experienced it.

Practical Thinking
Focusing on those aspects of a problem that are within your control or ability to influence. Practical thinking also implies that you seek the most reasonable solution to a problem without allowing perfectionism to get in the way.

Convergent Thinking
Convergent thinking seeks a solution to a problem with a known correct answer. For example, solving a math problem.

Divergent Thinking
Divergent thinking seeks a reasonable answer to a problem with no authoritative solution. For example, trying to think of a new business model that will be profitable.

Speculative Reasoning
The ability to make a reasonable guess or prediction where information is missing.

Systems Thinking
Thinking through the possible consequences of change to complex systems such as a society, culture, organization, economy or ecosystem.

Overthinking
Thinking so much that your efforts have a negative practical effect such as wasting time, missing a window of opportunity or impacting your quality of life with negative thoughts.

Intuition
Intuition is the ability to know something without conscious thought. Ancient Greeks, including the likes of Socrates and Plato viewed this as a connection to a universal and timeless force. Intuition is now thought to be a process of unconscious thought.

Introspection
The process of examining your own thought, emotions and character.

Design Thinking
Using the process of design whereby you create new things to solve problems and make decisions.

Abstraction
Thinking with concepts that differ from physical reality. Most words are abstractions and humans often think in words such that much human thinking is abstract.

Verbal Reasoning
The process of thinking in words. Language is a basis for human intelligence. As such, learning a second language can expand your pool of concepts that can be used to solve problems.

Visual Thinking
Thinking in pictures including pictures that you draw and those you can visualize with your mind’s eye.

Rational Thinking
Reasoned thinking that makes use of informal logic.

Cold Logic
Using logic as an excuse to ignore complexities such as the human condition.

Flow
A state of uninterrupted concentration that is important to thinking productivity.

Free Expression
Letting your ideas flow out without restraint. For example, brainstorming or painting without holding back for fear of criticism.

Big Picture Thinking
The process of challenging your most basic assumptions.

Win-win Thinking
Approaching things in a collaborative way that produces value for everyone.

Win-lose Thinking
Approaching things in a competitive way by trying to win at the expense of others.

Humor
The ability to view the absurdities of life as a source of joy.

Wit
The ability to respond quickly and intelligently in social situations.

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