Logical thinking skills are an asset regardless of the career you’re in. Let’s say you are a software developer. If you don’t have logical thinking skills, you would write poor code, fail to anticipate critical error handling scenarios, and waste time in putting out fires long after your code has been deployed in production. Logical thinking helps you think through all the possibilities of a problem and makes your decision-making easier.
What is logical thinking?
Logical thinking is thinking through a problem objectively, using your reasoning, taking all the facts into consideration, and coming to a conclusion on the direction to proceed in.
How can you improve logical thinking?
One question I’ve always had is, “Is logical thinking something you’re born with, or can it be improved?” Don’t worry. It can be improved with practice. Here are some ways to improve your logical thinking.
1. Practice Mathematics
I practiced for the GMAT as a pre-requisite to apply to business school. The GMAT is an adaptive test, where the difficulty of the questions increases as you get the previous question right. It is a multiple-choice test, and the questions are designed to trick you into choosing the wrong answer. So, it was essential to have fundamentals and logic clear as well as think through various solutions to a problem before selecting the right option. The GMAT helped me a lot in improving my logical thinking and problem-solving skills.
2. Play Chess and other games
Playing games such as chess, sudoku and crossword puzzles sharpens your logical thinking. These activities are fun and can help you think from different angles. You’ll also learn when to give up when one approach is not working. It is insanity to keep trying the same path that’s not working and expect it to work. By playing fun games when the stakes are low, you’ll learn to quickly eliminate an approach when you realize it’s not working.
3. Spend some time thinking
In these times when information is available at the tip of your fingers, it is relatively easy to search for the solution externally without actually spending the time to think through things. To sharpen your logical thinking, you need to spend some time clearly stating the problem, thinking about the problem and questioning the assumptions you have, after which you can come up with a solution to the problem. Additionally, you should definitely examine the solution and think of alternate ways to approach the problem or why your solution may be wrong. Finally, you can seek expert help to validate your solution.
All of us can be logical, except when we let emotions get the better of us. When you’re attached to a solution, you will be tempted to go find the data to support it. Let’s say you’re invested in a stock. When facts clearly show that this is a poor investment, the logical thing to do would be to sell the stock. However, if you’re attached to your previous decision of buying the stock, all you will do is suffer losses.
When you opt for a solution, think of all the possible reasons why you may prefer one solution to another. Often times, you may not like a particular solution just because it came from a source you don’t like. Self awareness is key here. You must be aware of how emotion clouds your thinking, and remind yourself to ignore your emotions and think about the problem objectively. By following the steps mentioned above, you can definitely improve your logical thinking.
Do you have any other ways to improve logical thinking that worked for you? Do let me know.