Abstract thinking is the ability to think about things that are not actually present in the present. Abstract thinkers are interested in the deeper meaning of things and the overall picture. Check if your abstract thinking is above average!
What is abstract thinking?
Perhaps the easiest way to explain abstract thinking is to compare it with its opposite, with concrete reasoning. Rational thinkers are more comfortable with what exists here and now. They like things that are clear and tangible and what they can hold in their hands. Such thinkers like to follow instructions. They hate everything that is fuzzy or ambiguous. They do not like to read between the lines.
Abstract thinkers think about how they can get an overall picture of all things! They always look for a deeper meaning in everything.
Abstract thinking is closely related to symbolic thinking. Most of our society and culture relies on the ability to use symbols to express their ideas. For example, the Statue of Liberty is not just a statue, it is a symbol of freedom. Even the language itself is abstract, because we use words as symbols to express objects, ideas, and emotions.
How we use abstract and concrete thinking
Of course, most of us use a mixture of concrete and abstract reasoning depending on the situations. No one can live life, relying only on one way of thinking. Everyone should use abstract thought to make plans for the future, be able to understand complex ideas or simply park a car. We must also use our concrete thinking to carry out practical tasks.
However, it happens that most people are dominated by one type of thinking. This will be the type of thinking that they consider most comfortable, while using the opposite type of thinking can be difficult for them.
Every now and then we use abstract thinking. When you were a child, you counted using your fingers. Now you do not need fingers for this, because you now understand the abstract idea that numbers represent.
Abstraction is the dominant strategy of this type of thinking!
7 signs that you can be an abstract thinker!
1. You often think about such global issues as “what is the meaning of life?” Or “What is the nature of consciousness?”.
2. You constantly wonder and ask “why?”. As a child, you probably made others go crazy because of your endless questions.
3. You do not like to do anything if you can not find a good reason for this: “just because” is not the answer for you.
4. You hate to follow step by step instructions.
5. You do not like subroutines and you quickly get bored if you need to repeat the same task, activity over and over again.
6. When you think about something new, you often associate it with what you already know, even if they seem unconnected in principle.
7. You perfectly come up with metaphors, draw analogies, and completely unrelated ideas in a completely new way.
How to improve your abstract thinking
Different businesses often check this way of thinking, so it’s wise to sharpen your focus on its development if it does not develop naturally.
If you want to improve your abstract thinking, there are books with exercises that you can try. The development of your mathematical skills can also help, because mathematics is an abstract way of thinking. Trying to find patterns in statistics can also increase your ability in this area.
The study of objects that can not be understood in a concrete way of thinking is another way of developing your abstract thinking. Such subjects as quantum mechanics and astrophysics require an abstract approach from us.
Working on the development of the ability to use metaphors and analogy will also contribute to the development of abstract thinking! Visiting the gallery, which presents contemporary art, can help you create a more symbolic way of thinking.
In general, the ability to balance thinking can help you be prepared for all life situations, so this is a skill that definitely needs to be developed!
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