How to Improve Analytical Skills and Get a Happier Life
Analytical thinking is a critical skill, and it is really important to have. We are going to look at how to develop analytical skills, and not just tips but some wisdom. Wisdom on why it is something you should truly care about.
Why to Develop Analytical Ability
So the reason you should want to improve analytical thinking is because it will allow you to solve a lot of the problems that arise in your life. The obstacles that hold you back will keep holding you back until you start to analyze them and work on them. A problem can’t be worked on until you become aware of it, and a lot of times you don’t become aware of your problems until you really think about it critically. This is an essential skill that you will use throughout the rest of your life to solve all of your problems and challenges.
Let us think about analytical thinking and use analytical ability to think about critical thinking, which will show exactly what analytical thinking is. Firstly, who are some of the great analytical thinkers in the history of the world?
Rene Descartes, Issac Newton, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Albert Einstein, Leonardo DaVinci and Picasso to list a few names. This list could be literally hundreds of names long, but a few great thinkers give an awareness of how many analytical there actually are.
When we look at these great people and study them, or study their work, what you learn is that these were deep and independent thinkers. So analytical skill is independent thinking, this means that these kinds of people have the ability to figure out problems for themselves, and know what analytical skills are. They are generating the answers for themselves. Now with the internet, there is this huge information of knowledge that we’ve accumulated over the last thousand years of human history. So we have all this wisdom at our fingertips, but we just assimilate and just take the words, but we don’t automatically analyze it for ourselves.
Basically what tends to happen is that we get too caught up in the values and beliefs of whoever it is you’re taking information, but during this process, you’re not generating the answers independently.
Examples of analytical thinking
A good example is if you can remember back to when you were in geometry class and you were given a theorem on triangles or the way angles work. You could then use that theorem to generate answers to various problems, but you were also asked later to not just use the theorem but to prove it. It’s a very laborious task but the point there was that there’s something important about being able to derive a truth independently, versus just taking it from culture and society. When you do that even though it can be challenging, it can be much easier to just take a theorem and apply it without analyzing it. When you do derive the answer yourself, that’s when you get true understanding and perspective.
If you actually went through with those theorems and did the proofs in geometry, then you developed a deep understanding of why geometry works the way it does.
If you just took the theorems that were given to you and you never did the proofs, you just slacked off altogether on that part and then applied the theorems then chances are even now you don’t really have a solid understanding of some of the laws of geometry. You don’t understand why angles add up to certain amounts because you haven’t thought through the process.
How to build analytical skills
Analytical thinking is something that is much undervalued in our society. It used to be very highly regarded in the classical eras like the Greek times. Just think about the Socratic Method. What did Socrates do? What was his philosophical style? All the Socratic Method involves is just asking questions. The way that Socrates would educate his students in philosophy, he would ask them questions. So one of them might have said to him that they believe such and such, and Socrates would answer that if they believed something to be true, that must also imply this, and then the student would say that no, it doesn’t apply that. So Socrates would say that what the student believes must be false, or it doesn’t apply in the way that they thought. So now it implies something slightly different, and so you have this chain of implications from that original assumption or belief. If you go down this chain of reasoning by asking question after question posing hypothetical scenarios, and you can really get deep into the truth of the matter and see what is making this idea tick.
So one way to have a happier life is to start doing that. Asking yourself lots of questions, and if you’re curious about how to actually build analytical skills is to just start doing it, instead of taking facts and information from the media and book and accepting it as true, start to analyze it and thinking it.
One example of this is when you’re reading a non-fiction book, and if you’re an analytical reader, and you’re reading the book you find you put it down a lot of times. You can’t just read a few chapters and not stop, they’ll ask themselves questions or go off at a tangent in their mind going down the chain of analytical ability that they’ve got going and spend time thinking about it. Then finally get back to the book because they want to finish it but you read a few pages, and then you think about it. You don’t just read from cover to cover and move onto the next one. That’s just you sucking in information that you haven’t thought about, and who knows what effect it’ll have on you.
Benefits of Analytical thinking
The problem in our current society is we have a lot of people throwing information at us that is motivated by commercial benefactors. There are literally billions of companies all over the world who do this in their marketing departments, and they look at how to trap you into buying their product. They might not even think that the product is any good, but they will still figure out a way to trap you into buying it. They will try to make you believe whatever is convenient for them, to produce money for them, and that’s very powerful and dangerous. So you have to be able to look beyond what someone is saying or promoting and unplug yourself from that.
When you start to think analytically, you start to think independently, and powerful things start to happen. When you have the ability to think for yourself, what you create is a sense of self-esteem and reliance.
If you’re not an analytical thinker, then you don’t have your own direction in life. You don’t have that self- reliance, you’re relying on other people or the media to facilitate you with information. What they’re doing is they’re providing you with negative, distorted and sometimes unethical information leading you down that path you don’t want to be going down.
Analytical and problem solving skills
The analogy that represents the media and what it does to people in society who aren’t analytical thinkers is almost like there is a herd of cattle and they are running in a stampede towards a cliff in the distance, and you’re part of that herd. You don’t realize what is going to happen, but soon enough the cliff isn’t that far off, and when the whole herd gets there they are going to fall off that cliff.
That is what mainstream society essentially is, and everyone who is plugged into that is going to fall off the cliff. They’re along for the ride, it’s very serious to be in this sort of situation because this is what is happening to the entertainment you watch, your health, your lack of exercise and the career that you’re in, and all the things that have been given to you and you just accept it. You don’t think about it at all.
When you start to discover the truths for yourself and think analytically, independently and rely on yourself as the primary source and leave all the other sources as secondary sources, you’ll then realize that all the ideas out there are wrong for you and you’ll be able to think clearly for yourself.
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