When you’re confronted with a high-stress, complex problem, how do you react? Are you calm and calculated, or do you become confused and flustered? Your response is an indicator of your analytical thinking. When employers interview you, they are often examining a candidate’s ability to discern a problem, investigate it and respond accordingly. These skills are considered “analytical skills”.
Indeed defines analytical skills as, “the ability to research, collect and analyze information to form more complex ideas about it…develop solutions for complex problems and interpret data to gain more knowledge about the subject.” But what happens if you aren’t very good at it? Fortunately, analytical and critical thinking can be practiced just like any other skill.
Here are some of the best ways to improve your analytical skills:
1. Read More Often
Reading is something that we too often lose as adults, and yet it’s an imperative part of keeping your brain stimulated.
Reading frequently keeps your mind alert, as it transforms letters on the page into words with meaning.
The genre of the book isn’t important, so long as the book is mentally stimulating for you — reading your childhood favorite might be fulfilling, but unfortunately it won’t help improve your analytical skills.
It’s best to read every day, even if at first you can only maintain it for a short while. Try joining a book club to help keep you accountable and choose new material.
2. Play (the Right) Games
As incredible as it sounds, games are actually one of the most efficient ways to improve your analytical thinking skills.
By challenging your brain to solve riddles and put pieces together, you’re encouraging it to think in ways it doesn’t normally do, and training it to seek out details and solve problems. Puzzles, Scrabble, chess, and sudoku are all great examples of games that stimulate your brain.