36 Ways Of Thinking
John Spacey, updated on July 29, 2023
Ways of thinking are mindsets and approaches that individuals use to form ideas, opinions, decisions and actions. These can be adopted naturally as part of the character and tendencies of an individual. Ways of thinking can also be consciously adopted over time or temporarily used to solve a particular problem. The following are common ways of thinking.
BiasesBiases are patterns of failed logic. For example, the illusion of asymmetric insight whereby you believe you understand others better than they understand you.
Motivated ReasoningFinding evidence and forming arguments for what you want to believe.worldview or motivation change your analysis.
Analytical ThinkingThe 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 ThinkingCritical thinking is a broad and non-specific term for systematic, methodical and objective thinking.
EmotionEmotions are states of mind that color all thought. For example, thinking in a negative way because you feel melancholic.
ImaginationThe ability to think in ways that differ from physical reality. A basic feature of human thought that is the key to creativity.
Counterfactural ThinkingCounterfactual 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.
OptimismA state of mind that focuses on positive traits and potential.
PessimismA state of mind that focuses on negative traits and risk.
Defensive PessimismDefensive pessimism is the practice of using optimism to generate ideas and pessimism to validate them.
IdealismThe view that ideas create the world. Focuses on the intangible such as social constructs.
RealismThe view that only things that can be physically observed and measured are real. Focuses on the tangible.
PragmatismPragmatism 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 ThinkingFocusing 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 ThinkingConvergent thinking seeks a solution to a problem with a known correct answer. For example, solving a math problem.
Divergent ThinkingDivergent 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 ReasoningThe ability to make a reasonable guess or prediction where information is missing.
Systems ThinkingThinking through the possible consequences of change to complex systems such as a society, culture, organization, economy or ecosystem.
OverthinkingThinking 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.
IntuitionIntuition 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.
Design ThinkingUsing the process of design whereby you create new things to solve problems and make decisions.
AbstractionThinking 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 ReasoningThe 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 ThinkingThinking in pictures including pictures that you draw and those you can visualize with your mind's eye.
Rational ThinkingReasoned thinking that makes use of informal logic.
Cold LogicUsing logic as an excuse to ignore complexities such as the human condition.
FlowA state of uninterrupted concentration that is important to thinking productivity.
Free ExpressionLetting your ideas flow out without restraint. For example, brainstorming or painting without holding back for fear of criticism.
Big Picture ThinkingThe process of challenging your most basic assumptions.
Win-win ThinkingApproaching things in a collaborative way that produces value for everyone.
Win-lose ThinkingApproaching things in a competitive way by trying to win at the expense of others.
HumorThe ability to view the absurdities of life as a source of joy.
WitThe ability to respond quickly and intelligently in social situations.Next: Worldview
Ways Of ThinkingThis is the complete list of articles we have written about ways of thinking.
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The definition of idealism with examples. The definition of optimism with examples. A list of thinking approaches and types. A list of common emotions.
The definition of originality with examples.A list of common academic disciplines.
An overview of the idea that life is fair with examples.An overview of thinking with examples. The definition of opinion with examples. A list of common types of mindset. The definition of analytical thinking with examples.
Complete examples of different types of good judgement.
The definition of salience with examples.
A list of the common types of perception.The common types of cognition with examples.
A list of common cognitive abilities with examples.
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