Most of us fancy ourselves logical and smart people. Most of us think we know how to think and how to think logically.
Honestly, I think this is completely correct. I truly believe that people know how to do this. And yet there’s still a problem.
The problem I’ve seen is that some of us consider ourselves logical thinkers, but when the time comes to demonstrate that logical thinking, it’s nowhere to be seen.
In my former job, there were a number of times where I’d be talking to someone and walking them through steps of a procedure or events that led to where they are now, but despite agreeing and seeing what I was saying, they tripped on the conclusion and completely invalidated everything that was said.
It wasn’t that these people were simpletons. They just weren’t able to access the ability to think logically in that moment. So if you cannot rely on your brain to think logically by default, here are the steps to get you there.
1. Make sure that you are not using emotion
When you’re talking about something or making a decision, you should be able to talk about why you are saying what you are saying with zero emotional reasoning behind it.
Even the term “emotional reasoning” explains why people think they are being logical when in reality they aren’t. They feel a certain way and that is how they arrive at the conclusions they arrive at.
Emotional reasoning may involve reasoning, but that doesn’t mean it is logical. It’s just how you feel and you feel it strongly.
But in terms of coming to conclusions or making decisions using logical thinking, there is no room for emotional language like, “I feel as if…” or “I don’t like…” Moreover, when you are feeling an emotion and then talking from the emotion like when you’re in the throes of passion or in a heated debate, this too is not logical.
And we all know we can make stupid decisions and say things we regret in those types of scenarios.
2. Efficiency is key
You have to know what you are trying to accomplish. Without a properly defined goal in mind, you will lose focus on trying to solve whatever problem you’re addressing. You also have to know what your reason is for trying to solve the problem.
For example, if you want to accomplish world peace, you would have to define what your goal is first.
Is the goal to eliminate military war in the world or is it to eliminate interpersonal conflicts? Is the goal to get rid of the military industrial complex or is it to instill values of love and peace that would then eradicate any compulsion for people to be at war with one another?
That one goal of world peace elicits many different means to accomplish it because you looked at the issue (lack of world peace) and saw how it manifested itself in different ways.
When it comes to why you want to solve this issue, it could be a personal reason or a public one.
Using the same example, a personal reason could be that because of a sexist, racial or religious incident you suffered, you want that type of thinking or the factors that caused that thinking to be eliminated.
A public reason could be that in hearing about the pain others have suffered, you seek to solve the problem by installing world peace.
Without reasons as to why you’re doing what you’re doing, it’s not logic, it’s emotional. And when you know the motivations behind why you’re doing what you’re doing, the level of awareness is enhanced and so is your ability to execute tasks. This is efficiency in a nutshell.
Just remember to keep the emotions out of it. I’m not saying emotions aren’t important, but they obscure logical thinking just as logic would mess up emotional matters.
3. Be results-oriented
No matter how logical you are, you can’t know for sure if something is going to work or not before you take action. Understanding this point is in and of itself logical because otherwise, you would be feeling like a failure because things didn’t work out the way you wanted.
Therefore, you have no choice but to experiment and see the results.
If things worked out in your favor, awesome. If not, that’s okay. Because you aren’t using emotion, you can easily pivot to another means of achieving the goal or to a different perspective that hopefully would be more accurate.
If this doesn’t come naturally to you, know that you’re not alone.
Sometimes it’s good that your logical thinking isn’t on autopilot because there are times where logic really isn’t the point of a matter. Sometimes it is not about being efficient in accomplishing some goal or arriving at the right answer. Sometimes emotions should take precedent.
So if you’re more of an emotional person, you can access your natural talent as you normally would but now you have the ability to think logically whenever you need to.
You can use this to set goals, accomplish goals and to check yourself when there’s a suspicion that you are being too biased about a matter.
As someone who also is more emotional than logical, thinking deliberately in this way has allowed me to see how certain decisions made perfect sense and where there was room for improvement.