9 Ways To Overcome Shallow Thinking In 2021

6 min read

Few people learn how to think, a skill essential to learning how to live.

And in this era of information overload, it’s easier to choose surface thinking than to dig deeper into relevant knowledge.

So you become a shallow thinker, leading a superficial life.

But within this article, you’ll learn how to defeat shallow thinking and become a deep thinker. Let’s explore!

Let’s dive right into it.

1. Keep Learning

Learning prevents mental laziness by enhancing focus, creativity, and reasoning which helps us become deep thinkers.

So don’t settle with limited information for any significant unclear concept,  research more about it.

Also, pick any content material you prefer and learn something new regularly. This could be a new thinking model, an additional language, a creative skill — anything that forces your mind to think differently.

But when taking this step, remember:

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“He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.” – Confucius

2. Challenge Your Thinking

Our minds have created a unique thinking paradigm. It’s usually based on the experiences we’ve had since childhood and how we respond to them.

The problem is, this also means that you’re subject to confirmation bias — where you likely agree with and accept the information that proves your point of view. 

So if you don’t challenge your thinking to distort some ineffective models you’ve set up, you end up:

  • Holding onto false beliefs about yourself
  • Believing most news and ideas at face value
  • Often judging others without looking at situations from alternative perspectives (close-minded)

But this doesn’t mean that your thinking is entirely bad. It’s just flawed and needs challenging every now and then.

So instead of clinging to the self-beliefs you had 20 years ago, seek clarity by becoming more self-aware. In a nutshell, challenge your thinking by finding truths.

Shallow Thinking
Image by VSRao from Pixabay

3. Prioritize Mentally Tasking Tasks

Subduing shallow thinking doesn’t only take a day or a month. You have to practice some deep thinking mastering tactics consistently to reap long term benefits.

And one powerful technique involves prioritization of your daily tasks. 

See, you only have limited energy and willpower in a day. And using that on easy tasks first causes decision fatigue and promotes poor thinking on the hard task you set for last. 

After all, why do you think Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same outfits to work daily. Or why Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein, some of the world’s most iconic innovators did the same as well? It’s because they avoid depleting their brainpower on tasks irrelevant to their goals. 

Therefore, focus on and prioritize hard tasks to deepen your thinking.

4. Seek Emotional Intelligence

While many people think being smart is limited to solving complex math problems, it isn’t true. There are different types of intelligence and emotional intelligence is one of the most crucial since emotionally intelligent people are generally happier as psychology studies reveal.

This intelligence simplifies your understanding and management of your emotions and those of others. And the best part is, it can be acquired.

Through self-evaluation, analysis of people’s emotions, and determination to better understand communication, you can become a deep thinker.

It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head — it is the unique intersection of both.” — David Caruso

5. Follow up With Plans Timely

Nature operates with laws. And one of the fundamental time management principles, Parkinson’s law states, work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

See, this law reveals that if you give yourself two weeks to work on a simple project, it becomes psychologically complex and you would find yourself taking two weeks to do it hence promoting shallow thinking. 

The same applies to hard tasks you plan for and follow up on at the last minute. 

While you might deliver results, the deep thinking you may have put in the task to find more multifaceted solutions isn’t possible because you’re rushed.

However, if you follow up on your plans in a timely manner, your brain opens up to provide more insights that deepen your thinking.

6. Listen More Than You Speak

Image by Szilárd Szabó from Pixabay 

Deep thinkers are generally silent when in intellectually consuming conversations. Shallow thinkers on the other hand talk a lot and end up spilling most of their half-informed ideas.

However, to overcome shallow thinking, you need to embrace listening more than speaking. So don’t spend most of your time voicing out your existing knowledge but often engage your desire to understand. 

This way you can:

  • Think before you speak
  • Understand others better
  • Only speak what’s relevant
  • Shift your focus to doing
  • Talk in less error

All these benefits come from a desire to dig deeper and source truths. They show a person who cares more about being relevant and helpful than one who seeks validation. They reveal a deep thinker.

7. Use the Feynman Technique

The Feynman technique was invented by Richard Feynman, a world-renowned physicist. He always sought truths by assuming he was a child before learning something new. This led him to a technique that promotes a thorough understanding of concepts.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


The Feynman technique follows these steps:

  1. Determine what you want to learn about
  2. Learn
  3. Pretend you’re teaching it to a grade six student 
  4. Spot the gaps in your explanation
  5. Go back to your content source and polish your understanding
  6. Review 

This is one of the best learning techniques by far. You can improve it to suit your purpose and use it to become a deep thinker.

8. Work on Subduing Your Ego

Ego Is the Enemy, an eye-opening book by Ryan Holiday tells it all from the title. The reason we talk more than listen is the ego. The reason we think we don’t need to challenge our beliefs is ego. The reason we remain with our shallow thinking is ego.

So unless you work on overcoming the negative effects of ego, you can’t effectively become a deep thinker.

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Here’s how you overcome ego:

  • Seek to become your best self, not the best in comparison
  • Live more consciously
  • Refrain from boasting
  • Practice integrity
  • Make decisions for controlling the controllables instead of everything
  • Be grateful
  • Choose to serve others

Whatever you feed it grows. So avoid feeding your ego with the above tactics and see how you become a deep thinker.

9. Practice a Deeper Point of View

Image by DanaTentis from Pixabay 

Reality is often how you interpret it more than logic itself. Therefore, quit viewing things from a shallow perspective. 

When you see someone, avoid making conclusions about them before getting to know them. When you contemplate talking about something you know little about, remember there could be more to it and keep calm.

Deep thinking comes at the price of regulating your impulses again and again. It requires practice.

Your Shallow Thinking Questions Answered

To eliminate shallow thinking, you have to understand the concept well. Plus its powerful opposite — deep thinking. Let’s dig deeper

What does shallow-minded mean?

This term describes someone that doesn’t think beyond the surface meanings of things. People used to thinking shallow are often superficial, believing, and caring only about the things they see and don’t look for hidden truths.

We are all human and can succumb to shallow thinking every once in a while. However, a shallow-minded person embraces most of these shallow thinking examples:

  • Concluding someone’s  character based on their looks
  • Reacting to a situation without much thought into consequences
  • Believing and accepting everything they hear and read from any source

What makes a person shallow?

If one portrays superficial thinking most of the time, it makes them shallow. They often let their ego take the lead, acting impulsively on small and big decisions. They avoid any tasking cognitive process and often choose to judge and not understand.

What does it mean to be a deep thinker?

A deep thinker analyses concepts relevant to them from different angles to get a comprehensive understanding. Also known as careful thinkers, they place purpose behind their decision-making and always seek the best probable outcome.

Is deep thinking bad?

While deep thinking isn’t bad, it can sometimes become overthinking. So like any good thing, you need to think deeply in areas most relevant to you or others you wish to help. 

Your job is to know when you need surface knowledge or deep knowledge of something. And it all comes down to your intentions of using that knowledge.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay 

Conclusion

Shallow thinking leads to living a superficial life. But to become a deep thinker, apply the above tactics, and enjoy a life of purpose.

Do you think you’re a shallow thinker? Why? Let’s chat about it in the comments! Also, remember to share this piece to help change lives.

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