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How to Improve Your Thinking Skills

Updated on January 16, 2016
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Elysia Valdivia lives in Northern Colorado. She enjoys yoga, walks in nature with her dogs, and sharing/exchanging thoughts with others.

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” ― Albert Einstein
The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” ― Albert Einstein | Source

What do you really know about thinking?

Thinking - adjective1.rational; reasoning: People are thinking animals. 2. thoughtful; reflective: Any thinking person would reject that plan. noun 3.thought; judgment, reflection: clear thinking.

Have you ever taken a good look at the way you think? Have you even "thought" to do so? Do you ever feel uncomfortable about a thinking pattern you have that just doesn't seem right? Maybe it is time to learn more about thinking.

There are multiple resources to help improve your thinking. The Critical Thinking Foundation website, Holistic Education Network, and The Thinking Page just to name a few.

In addition, there are various qualities and stages of thinking. People have spent a whole lot of time analyzing the way people think. Who woulda thunk?

"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves." - Carl Jung

Qualities of Good Thinkers

  • Quality thinkers think about the way they think.
  • Their thinking has purpose.
  • They recognize that there are intellectual tools to improve the quality of their thinking.
  • They use these said tools consistently.
  • They understand that their thoughts are separate of their feelings and desires.
  • They regularly review and critique their thinking.
  • They identify the strengths and weaknesses of their thinking.

“Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.” — Thomas Szasz
“Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.” — Thomas Szasz | Source

Stages of Thinking

STG 1: The Unreflective Thinker

  • We have no idea that there are problems with our way of thinking.
  • Without this knowledge, we cannot make substantial changes.

STG 2: The Challenged Thinker

  • We become aware that our thinking might be wrong.
  • Yet we are still unable to determine what exactly is the problem with our thinking

STG 3: The Beginning Thinker

  • We are ready to make changes but not quite consistent in this practice.
  • We have just begun the process of recognizing the standards for the assessment of thinking.
  • We realize that we need to internalize these standards and begin to use them purposefully in our daily thinking.

STG 4: The Practicing Thinker

  • We recognize the need to regularly practice our thinking.
  • Daily practice of critical thinking becomes of utmost importance to us.
  • We consistently identify egocentric thinking.
  • We consistently identify thinking that is self-deceptive.

STG 5: The Advanced Thinker

  • Monitoring our thinking has become part of our usual routine.
  • We have knowledge of what tools we need to apply to said routine.

STG 6: The Master Thinker

  • Bruce Lee (a Martial Arts Master), once said something to the effect that after practicing the same movement over and over, “it just happens”.
  • We have understanding as well and knowledge.
  • Evaluating our thinking has become something we seek to do as often as possible.
  • We now have deep insight into applying critical thinking into our daily habits.
  • We now recognize the relationship between thoughts, emotions, drives and behaviors.

Identify Your Stage

What Stage Do You Identify Your Thinking?

See results
“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” — Mahatma Gandhi
“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” — Mahatma Gandhi | Source

Practice and Improve Your Thinking

How does one practice one's thinking? I am so glad you asked! As stated above, there are several online resources 100% dedicated to thinking. Below is a quick list of options to begin your very own thinking practice!

  1. Practice when you are bored.
  2. Do not focus on more than one problem per day.
  3. Keep a Journal of your thoughts.
  4. Take a look at your character and your ego. Then make necessary changes.
  5. Start to make changes to the way you see things. Redirection.
  6. Learn to differentiate your feelings from your thoughts.
  7. Start to evaluate how your upbringing, culture, and environment has affected your way of thinking.
  8. Don't be too hard on yourself, you are growing!

Critical Thinking Explained

What Next?

First of all, analyze your thinking. Decide which stage of thinking you are at today and move on from there. Then practice, practice, practice! Use your strategies to improve the way you think. Keep a daily thought journal to review when you have extra time.

Be patient with yourself. This will not be an overnight process. But the joy is in the journey anyway.

Happy thoughts to all!


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    • livingelysian profile image

      Elysia Valdivia 2 years ago from Loveland, Colorado

      Thank you for your feedback Aliswell! This process is something I studied lately and I learned so much from it!

    • Aliswell profile image

      Aliswell 2 years ago from Iowa

      Thank you for this very informative Hub Elysia!

      Sadly, I rate myself as possibly still mired in the last step in Stage #2. I will, however, start to practice using the tools you have identified, and hopefully I will start to think more effectively!