We talked before about how we can improve our brain activity resulting in thinking faster and better. However what is the point of being smarter if we don’t choose the right decision? That’s why we are going to talk about critical thinking and strategic planning today. If you want to step up your way of thinking then read on because with these steps you will think more rational.

The Life Upgrades - Critical Thinking

Most people never even heard of these two terms before so let’s talk about them first. Critical thinking is when your brain receives any kind of information, then it analyses them to understand their purpose and finally evaluates them to decide what to do with the decision-making. It can also be called “To Reason”. It’s because actually everyone thinks critically. Based on the emotions and different kind of biases that everyone experiences, their judgements get affected and they act accordingly. Now the hard part is to overcome these emotions and/or external biases in order to think rationally aka think logically. It may sound easy but it’s not. Imagine someone important to you got kidnapped. Probably the most common way to act is to try to get him back, but in the end you both end up dead. If you tried to think rationally thought and not get affected by your emotions you will think of a plan and find the people who can help you with the case.

The Life Upgrades - Critical Thinking Process

At that point you start using strategic planning. All the great generals through history like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte and Pericles had that in common. That is why; they were victorious most of the times. Even in battles that winning was more like a fantasy than reality. First you set aside your emotions so that they don’t make choose the wrong steps in what you are planning to do. Then you start thinking of all the possible plans and the outcomes that may have. The more plans you can think the better because you have more options to choose. However planning thought needs to be very detail-oriented and you also need to think a few steps ahead into the future than what the others think. In that way you will not let your guard down if any changes occur or something goes wrong because all of us have free will and everything is possible.

The Life Upgrades - Strategic Planning

These are few reasons why being reactive in that way is beneficial:

  • Solving problems becomes easier and more efficient
  • The results are the most reasonable for everyone involved in the problems
  • We expect things to happen and we are prepared for them
  • Helps prevent those problems from happening again
  • Helps us learn from the mistakes that we did and make better choices next time
  • Helps being more open to ideas and having a positive attitude in difficult situations
  • We become more patient
  • We don’t learn to remove our emotions. Instead we learn to balance them with our thinking in order for everything to work with us, not against us for better results

Critical thinking and strategic planning are important part in taking a decision in any situation. That is why everyone should use them all the time. You may need them in urgent situations like the one we mentioned above with the kidnapping or in managing your company on making the best deals possible or in choosing the best route to success in a sport or even having different kind of troubles with friends, family and relationships in general.

The Life Upgrades - Decisions

Everyone gets born with the ability to think, but thinking logically and planning the next move are skills that need to be learned. Therefore we need to practice them all the time to improve them. There are a few easy ways to start using.

  • Research skills improve a lot. If you really try to find a solution then you will find answers through the internet, through books and through experts depending on the matter
  • Reading opens up your mind to new ideas, improves focus and concentration. Depending on what you read, it can also improve your imagination, survival skills and plenty more
  • Surround yourself with people who have different way of thinking and they are not close-minded. You learn new things, become better in debates, form new ideas and experience arguments from both sides in different kind of conversations
  • That also can be done when you are alone. Think of a problem from different angles. Then think the good and the bad points of each angle. You learn to choose the best possible choice
  • Constantly question your opinions/views and evaluate what went wrong the last time you chose something. In that way you think of a better choice when something relevant happens again
  • Playing strategy games like chess, checkers and strategy-based video games. You become more agile in decision-making, your attention improves drastically and you experience improvements in overall cognitive function. Why do you think the chess grandmasters are considered geniuses?
The Life Upgrades - Chess
  • When evaluating a situation first determine what are your options and what paths are impossible to follow. Recognize and separate inside your mind what is a fact and what is fictional option
  • Don’t get obsessed with a problem and ask a friend or a family member to help. You develop more communication skills and get less frustrated with the problem, which results in clearer decisions

Hopefully now you see the difference between acting irrationally and thinking rationally and then acting. Keep practicing every day and don’t get influenced by internal or external biases. Don’t rush to find a solution, organize your thoughts, ask others for help if needed, think every available option, think what the potential outcomes are and use your logic.

Tip: Watch “Life of a King”. It’s an amazing movie and based on a true story. It explains through chess how to think and plan better your choices in life.

The Life Upgrades - Life of a King

Share this article to inform more people and tell us your thoughts in the comments below: Do you use critical thinking and strategic planning in your life in general? When did you use these techniques? Do you have any other suggestions on becoming more rational?​