Practical thinking is thinking that seeks timely and reasonable actions and solutions. This can be contrasted with thinking processes that are overly complex, slow, inflexible, ideological or theoretical. The following are illustrative examples.
PragmatismPragmatism is the philosophy that things are true if they are true for practical purposes. For example, accepting freedom as important because people appear to value it without need of a mathematical proof.
Actionable & DoableConstraining your opinions to things that you can control or influence and choosing a path that has some chance of success. For example, an environmentalist who aims to influence local government to ban an unusually harmful chemical.
Analytical ThinkingThe systematic process of collecting and evaluating evidence to base your thinking on real world measurements and observations. For example, a farmer who wants to understand why crops are failing in one field and thriving in another who conducts tests to determine the composition of the soil from the two locations.
Design ThinkingDesigning systems, tools, knowledge artifacts, processes and concepts to solve a problem. For example, a student who designs a new study process to increase their learning productivity.
Pareto PrincipleThe pareto principle is the theory that 80% of value is created with the first 20% of effort. This isn't strictly true but is a useful concept for avoiding overthinking and perfectionism. For example, a student who timeboxes their decision on which university to attend to a single weekend.
Practical thinkers are willing to engage in debate and consider ideas from the opposition in a flexible and accepting way. For example, a city that is considering banning skateboarding due to vocal property owners that makes sure to hear the viewpoint of the skaters themselves before making a decision.
Grey AreasPractical thinkers consider grey areas and tend to come up with solutions that reflect the complexities and imperfections of the real world. For example, a city council that finds there are many problems with skateboarding such as noise pollution but many benefits too such as exercise that comes up a plan to build more skate parks and more strictly regulate skateboarding in other areas.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about thinking.
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