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How to Think Logically

How to think logically

How to think logically

Let us look at the question of logical thinking and contrast it to every other type.

Logic is a system of thought (and communication).

Logical thought (and communication) are different from all other types.

Logic is not guessing, nor wishing, or hoping.

Logic is a special kind of thought process, which is distinguished by the following characteristics:

  1. Logic is based upon facts, not feelings.
  2. Highly structured.
  3. Systematic, inductive and deductive.
  4. Self-consistent, (Coherent / non-contradictory).
  5. All key concepts have clear definitions.
  6. Logic is the method of reason.

"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear". Thomas Jefferson.

Structure your message like a tree

Knowledge is hierarchical in nature, or at least it should be.

Nature loves heirarchical branching structures.

This shape suggests that there are two fundamental ways of logical thinking: Analysis and synthesis.

  • Analysis (is the act of mentally deconstructing a problem).
  • Synthesis (is the act of mentally reconstructing solutions).

In any situation, we need to understand:

  1. What is the fundamental issue? (The trunk of the tree)
  2. What is NOT our fundamental issue? (This fact pertains to a different tree)
  3. What are the main subset elements? (Main branches)
  4. What are the minor subset elements? (Derivative branches)
  5. What are the details? (The leaves on the tree)

Common errors to not thinking logically

It is a common error not to think logically, for example:

  • Failing to sort things into categories, sets and subsets.
  • To think all on one plane, as if all the pieces were equally important.
  • To act emotionally, without reference to logic.
  • To be unstructured.
  • To be disorganised.
  • To be self-contradictory, (to say one thing and do another).
  • To misidentify the fundamental issue.
  • To focus on a trivial issue and therefore to miss the main point.
  • To fixate on one thing to the exclusion of other parts of the system
  • To concentrate on solving individual details, whilst ignoring their major causes. (Not recognising that the underlying cause of the leaves is the roots of the tree).

What happens to people who habitually fail to think logically?

What are the painful long-term consequences suffered by anyone who is habitually illogical, unsystematic and disorganised?

What happens to their own work performance?

What is their effect on the others around them?

Problem Solving Training

Problem solving relies mainly on two forms of logic.

  • Analysis: Deconstructing the logical structure of the problem
  • Synthesis: Constructing Logical solutions.

If you would like to develop your problem-solving skills please take a look at our in-house Problem Solving Training Course.

About the Author: Chris Farmer

Chris

Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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