According to statistics, a person has more than 60,000 thoughts every day. But 95% of them are constantly repeating ideas.
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Different types of thinking
Abstract thinkers are able to relate seemingly random things with each other. This is because they can see the bigger picture. They make the connections that others find difficult to see.
They have the ability to look beyond what is obvious and search for hidden meanings. They can read between the lines and enjoy solving cryptic puzzles. They don’t like routine and get bored easily.
Analytical thinkers like to separate a whole into its basic parts in order to examine these parts and their relationships. They are great problem-solvers and have a structured and methodical way of approaching tasks.
This type of thinker will seek answers and use logic rather than emotional thinking in life. However, they have a tendency to overthink things and can ruminate on the same subject for months.
Creative thinkers think outside the box and will come up with ingenious solutions to solve their dilemmas in life. They like to break away from the traditions and norms of society when it comes to new ideas and ways of thinking.
They can sometimes be ridiculed as society prefers to keep the status quo. Creative thinkers can also court jealously if they manage to follow their dreams and work in a creative field.
Concrete thinking focuses on the physical world, rather than the abstract one. It is all about thinking of objects or ideas as specific items, rather than as a theoretical representation of a more general idea.
Concrete thinkers like hard facts, figures and statistics. For example, you will not get any philosophers who think in concrete terms. Children think in concrete terms as it is a very basic and literal form of understanding.
Critical thinking takes analytical thinking up a level. Critical thinkers exercise careful evaluation or judgment in order to determine the authenticity, accuracy, worth, validity, or value of something. And rather than strictly breaking down the information, critical thinking explores other elements that could have an influence on conclusions.
Convergent thinking is a process of combining a finite number of perspectives or ideas to find a single solution. Convergent thinkers will target these possibilities, or converge them inwards, to come up with a solution.
One example is a multiple choice question in an exam. You have four possible answers but only one is right. In order to solve the problem, you would use convergent thinking.
By contrast, divergent thinking is the opposite of convergent thinking. It is a way of exploring an infinite number of solutions to find one that is effective. So, instead of starting off with a set number of possibilities and converging on an answer, it goes as far and wide as necessary and moves outwards in search of the solution.
How can you take advantage of the different types of thinking?
Includes analytical and concrete types of thinking
If you are a convergent thinker, you are more likely to be an analytical or concrete thinker. You are generally able to logically process thoughts so you can use your ability to remain cool and calm in times of turmoil.
You are also more likely to be a natural problem solver. Think of any famous super sleuth, from Sherlock Holmes to Inspector Frost, and you will see convergent thinking at play. By gathering various bits of information, convergent thinkers are able to put the pieces of a puzzle together and come up with a logical answer to the question of “Who has done it?”
Concrete thinkers will look at what is visible and reliable. Concrete thinking will only consider the literal meaning while abstract thinking goes deeper than the facts to consider multiple or hidden meanings. However, if you are a concrete thinker it means you are more likely to consider literal meanings and you’re unlikely to get distracted by “what ifs” or other minor details.
Includes abstract and creative types of thinking
Divergent thinking is all about looking at a topic or problem from many different angles. Instead of focusing inwards it branches outwards. It is an imaginative way of looking at the world. As such, it uses abstract thinking to come up with new ideas and unique solutions to problems.
Abstract thinking goes beyond all the visible and present things to find hidden meanings and underlying purpose. For example, a concrete thinker will look at a flag and only see specific colours, marking, or symbols that appear on the cloth. An abstract thinker would see the flag as a symbol of a country or organization. They may also see it as a symbol of liberty and freedom.
Divergent thinkers like to go off on tangents. They’ll take the meandering route, rather than the tried and trusted straight and narrow approach. If you are a divergent thinker, you are more likely to be a good storyteller or creative writer. You are good at setting scenes and a natural entertainer. You like to be creative in your approach to problem-solving.
Take a look at yourself!
Whenever you’re considering your next course of action, why not take a minute to consider how you are forming your opinions or conclusions. Ask yourself if you’re sure you’ve considered all alternatives available to you and pay attention to whether you’re assuming you have limited choices. You might just find your mind takes you on an interesting journey!