Analytical skills are an invaluable asset to have. They easily transfer and apply across many spectrums of our lives. Learning to negotiate and improve these skills can aid us in becoming better thinkers, communicators, and creators. They enable us to problem solve more efficiently, and carry out solutions with better efficacy.
However, just what are analytical skills, and why do they matter? We’ll explain the inherent value of analytical thinking skills both inside and outside the workplace, and how you can use these skills to improve your life.
What Are Analytical Skills?
Do analytical thinking skills really matter? Will these skills impress your boss? Are they necessary for communicating with family and friends?
The answer to all of the above question is: yes.
Analytical thinking skills matter. They can be used at work, at home, with your coworkers, family, friends — even your kids, believe it or not.
So, just what are analytical thinking skills? At their core — they’re problem solving skills. Simple as that. Analytical thinking skills are methods we can use to analyze, tackle, and sort new information, ideas, problems, and solutions.
Here are just a few examples of some of the most common analytical skills:
- Data analysis
Do any of the above sound familiar? You’ve likely encountered a few at work. These are valuable and highly transferrable skills that enable us to become more efficient people in all avenues of our lives.
How Analytical Thinking Can Help You
Now that we've answered the question: what are analytical skills? we can now ask, how can analytical thinking skills benefit you?
Well, improving your critical thinking skills is no small feat, and becoming a more proficient problem solver has a host of potent benefits:
1. Analytical Skills Make You Marketable
This is one of the most concrete, tangible benefits of how to improve your analytical skills and critical thinking abilities.
Developing any of the aforementioned analytical skills will instantly make you a more marketable, hirable individual. If you’ve already got your dream job, then great! Acquiring these skills will help you shine in the eyes of your employer, and will enable you to get your job done more efficiently, in less time.
If you don’t have your dream job, then learning how to improve analytical thinking skills will likely help you score that position you’ve been eyeing. Slide a few analytical skills into your resume and your potential employer will be quite impressed.
2. Analytical Skills Make You A Better Problem Solver
Being an effective, creative problem solver will help you tackle even the most daunting of cognitive challenges with ease. When you understand how to digest data, pick out the relevant details, and devise a creative solution, not much will be able to stand in the way of you and what you want.
Be it at home, at work, or for a personal project, efficient problem solving will empower you for the success of tomorrow.
3. Analytical Skills Encourage Critical Thinking
What is critical thinking? It’s a type of intellectual discipline that emphasizes the logical synthesis of information to produce informed thought and action.
It’s a way in which we can interact with information, experience, even other people, without the reactivity we’re so used to operating under.
Being a more conscious, less reactive person leads to more harmonious relationships with the ones we love. When we learn to think critically, we’re carving a path toward better interpersonal connections.
How To Improve Analytical Thinking Skills
In 5 Easy Steps
Becoming a more critical thinker with better analytical skills sounds appealing, doesn’t it? Working to improve and nurture your analytical skills certainly can’t hurt!
So, here are a few steps you can take to begin cultivating better analytical skills:
1. Play Brain Games
This is a fun and practical way to begin improving your analytical skills and boosting your brain power. Plus, all you need is 15 minutes a day!
A wonderful 15 minute "mind hack" to greatly increase your brain power and cognitive function is discussed by the amazing Vishen Lakhiani in this video here:
Another great way to begin expanding your critical thinking talents is to download a brain training app that will challenge your cognitive abilities.
Here are a few accredited apps you can access for improving your analytical skills:
- Brain Wave
2. Learn One New Thing Every Day
Make it a habit to learn something new each and every day. Many of us, once done with school, become much more passive about our learning. We read when we must, we take on new skills when we must, but rarely do we seek out mental and cognitive stimulation entirely of our own accord.
Make it a habit to try and learn something that excites your passions each day. Go online and research a topic that has always interested you. Talk to a professional in a field you’re curious about. Get out there and expand your knowledge base by learning something you didn’t know the day before.
3. Join a Book Club
Reading is a powerful asset to our cognitive abilities, and reading material we might not normally pick up can teach us quite a lot.
By joining a book club, not only are you likely to read more, but you’ll also engage in literal analysis and debate during book club meetings. You’ll have the opportunity to delve into critical analysis, dissect metaphors, and unpack symbolism. You may make a few friends in the process, too!
4. Volunteer for New Projects
If there’s a particular analytical skill you’re interested in, why not volunteer yourself for a project that involves that skill?
Sometimes, all we need is a little internal push to delve into something new. We can’t always wait for something to be placed in our lap. Every once in awhile we need to be able to go out there and get it ourselves.
If you’re keen to learn some new analytical skills to add to your arsenal, volunteer for projects and assignments that will throw you head first into the learning!
5. Take an Online Course
If you’d really like to improve your analytical skills, first, you must decide what appeals to you most. Keep in mind that you may already possess quite a few of the analytical skills identified above. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, so the key is to identify where yours lie.
It’s best to challenge yourself with something you’re not particularly good at. Why? Because if we only pursue that which we’re already proficient in, we’re really not learning anything new — or doing ourselves any favors.
If you truly want to build your repertoire of analytical skills, you’ll need to try something you haven’t yet mastered.
Perhaps you want to improve your research skills. Or maybe you want to try your hand at data analysis and reporting. Whatever you choose, do a little research to see what you can find available online.
There may be an in-person course available to you locally. Or you might be able to sign on for distance education from the comfort of your home.
To cultivate your analytical skills, you’ll need to take a proactive approach. Decide what you want, and go after it!
The key to increasing your critical thinking abilities and improving your analytical skills lies in your desire to succeed. Your can empower yourself for the triumphs of tomorrow, but only if you identify which door you need to walk through, then take the steps necessary to open it.
Each and every one of us is capable of great and wondrous things. What do you want to do with your tomorrows? Becoming the person you want to be is all about taking measured, targeted action.
Think about where you most want to improve. Identify your strengths. Identify your weaknesses. Then, become more powerful than you ever before imagined.
Which analytical skills would you like to carry forward with you into the future? Tell us your thoughts below.