How to become more analytical

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Kevin Mangelschots

Building analytical skills is important since it allows us to find answers to challenging questions and issues. We can use these skills to form objective action plans and to make choices to resolve these problems at hand.
 
That’s why we need to know how to become more analytical by applying the following tips.
 

How to develop analytical skills

  1. Think critically

    Image describing how reasoning, problem-solving, and evaluating are all needed for critical thinking.

    Thinking critically is required to think analytically since it involves comparing data, and figuring out what is truthful, and what is not.

    Far too many folks just follow the herd these days and fall prey to group thinking instead of thinking for themselves. If you don’t learn to think for yourself, then you can’t learn how to make good decisions based on knowledge and objective truths.

  2. Practice problem-solving

    Good problem-solving skills involve figuring out what went wrong, what we can do to fix it, making a plan, and executing that program all the while making adjustments along the way.

    That’s not so different from thinking analytically. Good problem-solving behavior is required to thrive in life since our existence is ever-changing. This means constant new challenges, but also new opportunities to flourish.

  3. Be introspective

    The quote, “we do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience” written on a background with a woman staring.

    We can’t learn how to develop analytical skills if we don’t reflect on what we need to work on.

    Being introspective allows you to figure out what your strengths are, but more importantly, what your weaknesses and personal biases are.

    Prejudices such as confirmation bias can prevent us from thinking critically and analytically. We need to rely on facts and our ability to think rationally instead of simply thinking based on our emotions and subjective feelings.

  4. Search for patterns

    Life runs in patterns. And when we gain mastery in multiple areas, we gain a new understanding of how those things are connected that we might have missed when we were not as skilled.

    For example, a lot of the same characteristics that make one successful at weightlifting such as discipline, consistency, and learning to delay gratification are all important to become successful in business as well.

    That’s why we can apply the same principles to both since we found some of the rules that are essential to becoming successful in life.

  5. Do empirical research

    A stamp with the word “evidence” on it.

    Analytical thinking is based on empirical evidence rather than basing our judgment on the premise of how we’re feeling, and our emotions.

    That’s not to say that our feelings are always wrong, or can’t provide guidance. But they’re not always right, either. That’s why we should always search for the objective truth since that remains the same, no matter what anyone says.

  6. Focus on objective truths and data

    Dig deep to figure out what the truth is, and what the data says based on empirical evidence.

    Lots of people are making judgments and decisions based on their emotions. Not realizing how biased and uninformed they truly are by doing so.

    The need to be right and the unwillingness to admit that they can be wrong, and are not perfect is regularly too strong for people to make a well-informed opinion based upon facts and knowledge.

  7. Take responsibility

    Image of a finger pointing at a single human signifying his personal responsibility.

    Take responsibility for your actions and choices. It’s typically easy for us to take ownership of all the good things that happen in our lives, but rarely do we feel the same about our mistakes and failures.

    Yet, it’s paramount to develop and improve. We can’t learn how to practice analytical thinking without making mistakes along the way. At first, we’re going to be bad at things before we can get a chance to become better at it.

  8. Learn new things

    We can’t improve if we don’t learn new things. Life’s too complex to know it all during one lifetime, and that’s why we should never stop building new knowledge.

    Learning new things allows us to make connections between seemingly unrelated events, and to tie the loose ends together. We also need all the available knowledge that we can get to make rational decisions based on empirical evidence.

  9. Challenge yourself

    You can’t learn anything new or become proficient at something if you never challenge yourself. That means you have to be courageous enough to attempt such a difficult feat and be willing to fail since that will inevitably happen.

    Yet, what we need to understand is that most of our growth typically lies there where we don’t want to venture. That’s precisely why we must challenge ourselves by undertaking new challenges.

  10. Learn how things work

    We need to figure out how things work before we can even attempt to make it work. How can you learn to think analytically when you don’t know what it is, or what abilities it encompasses?

    It’s a broad subject that covers a wide range of skills that are all required to employ analytical thinking to get the best outcomes.

  11. Pay attention to details

    The quote, “the difference between mediocrity and excellence is attention to detail” written on a background of a man taking a picture.

    You should pay attention to the details to better understand the situation. While the big picture is most important, it’s hard to know what that is, or to understand everything in depth when we don’t care for the details at all.

    Take your time to point out the small details about the situation. This requires a true understanding of the circumstances.

  12. Ask questions

    Asking questions can give us new information all the while clarifying the things that weren’t clear to us at first.

    Questions allow us to learn more about the topic at hand, and how to apply that new understanding rationally.

  13. Think about your choices

    Image of 4 notes saying “yes, no, maybe, don't know”, with multiple notes with a question mark on surrounding them.

    Humans aren’t perfect. That’s why we should always think thoroughly about the choices we’re about to make while analyzing if we’ve made the right choice, and if there’s anything that we could’ve done better.

    No matter how smart we are, there’s no way we’re always going to make the right selection.

  14. Read more

    We need to possess great knowledge if we want to make informed decisions based on objective data instead of how we feel.

    Reading can give us a new perspective and understanding that would’ve taken us much longer to develop on our own. That’s because the work to understand the subject and its intricacies has already been done by someone else.

  15. Write things down

    Image of a pen lying on top of a notebook.

    Writing things down makes things a lot more clear, and can allow us to come back at a later date without making thinking errors or letting recency bias influence us too much.

    Having visual feedback can help to make things more organized as well.

  16. Become aware and observe

    Becoming aware of your surroundings helps you to analyze and observe what’s going on. It’ll teach you much more compared to just going through life subconsciously without thinking things through.

    Who knows, it can even save your life in some instances since it’s much easier to prevent trouble when we notice something is up rather than having to fix or run from a situation.

  17. Debate others

    Image of people debating each other.

    Debating others improves your analytical skills since you’ll have to convince them with facts and rational thoughts that they can’t easily dispute.

    Although there are always those who debate with their feelings, a lot of anger, and yelling. These are arguments that you should end immediately since there’s no winning and they’re unreasonable and don’t listen to logic.

  18. Improve your mathematical skills

    Mathematics is logical and has the capacity to break down the facts, and reason abstractly, all the while using models to figure things out.

    It’ll allow you to make sense of these issues and to become mathematically capable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are analytical skills?

Image describing how reasoning, problem-solving, and evaluating are all needed for critical thinking.

Analytical skills cover many skills such as:

  1. Critical thinking
  2. Data analysis
  3. Research
  4. Communication
  5. Creativity

How do analytical thinkers think?

 
Analytical thinkers are curious individuals who are always looking to get to the bottom of things to gain a deeper understanding of the topic at hand so that they can find the best possible solution or answer.
 

Everything they know or think is up for questioning. They don’t simply accept the status quo, and instead, opt to doubt and question everything to find the objective truth.

Can you teach yourself to be analytical?

You can teach yourself to be more analytical since it’s a skill. And our abilities can be improved by gaining a better understanding, and through experience by actually practicing.

Can you train someone to be analytical?

Illustration of a man teaching his employees.
 
You can train someone to be analytical by instructing them so that they gain a better understanding, and what skills to apply. This means that it’s a learned skill.
 

They can improve upon their baseline skill by practicing and through experience.

Is analytical thinking slow?

Analytical thinking is a conscious effort, which makes it slower than intuitive thinking by default. However, the advantage is that thinking analytically is less prone to mistakes such as biases and thinking errors.
 
Intuitive insight on the other hand happens automatically and outside our awareness. That’s why it’s faster, but more inclined to make errors.
 

Final note

Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

Building analytical skills allows us to solve complex problems and to formulate an appropriate answer to challenging questions.

No matter what you do in life, being able to think critically and analytically will always help you to make good choices. That’s undoubtedly helpful to thrive in life.