Analytical skills refer to one’s capacity to collect and analyze information to formulate complex and data-backed ideas about it. On the other hand, strategic thinking is all about having the ability to plan for the present and the future based on the ideas and information you have now. Both skills are needed to help us become competent people in many areas of our lives—from how we conduct our relationships to how we can succeed in our endeavors and chosen careers.
There’s no denying that having excellent analytical skills and good strategic thinking will get you far in life. Here are some simple tips for improving your competence in these two areas.
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Never stop reading
There are no two ways about it: If you want to improve your analytical skills and strategic thinking, you need to read more. To be a good analyst entails being stimulated and constantly alert, which is why we cannot let laziness and procrastination win over us.
You can start small, like choose a book with a topic you’re interested in. If you’re into the true crime genre, choose a creative non-fiction book about a case that interests you—and all the better if it’s unsolved so that you can use your analytical skills to conclude who is responsible for the crime. If you want to be a better reader, starting with topics that interest you is key.
Consider gaming as a hobby
The past few decades have demonized gaming as a hobby, but it actually provides many surprising benefits—one of which is improving one’s strategic thinking. Here are some examples of games that make users stretch their strategic and analytical skills in 2021:
- Age of Empires IV
- Stronghold: Warlords
- Falling Frontier T
- Total War: Warhammer
- Knights of Honor II: Sovereign
- Songs of Conquest
- City of Gangsters
If you want to improve your analytical skills through this new hobby, consider putting together a gaming laptop, too. Doing so will encourage you to decide on the best specs that will work for your needs. You can also know how certain parts can work together to build a cohesive whole and the best laptop for you as a gamer.
Improve your math skills
For those of us who have traumatic memories from going to math classes as students, the answer to this tip might be a quick, “Nope.” But know this: getting better at math will help you reach an answer through a step-by-step process that is backed by science.
Since all areas of arithmetic come from a place of logic and rationality, building mathematical skills is one of the most surefire ways to sharpen one’s analytical skills. It can also help you improve your problem-solving abilities as well as your ability to reason through logic.
The best part about learning math is that everything can be done through trial and error, and no one can hurt you now for getting it wrong the first few times. Consider attending an online class for college-level math and be gentle with yourself as you learn.
Play other games that require strategic thinking
Many tabletop and board games require players to use their minds; to think as logically and deeply as possible if they want to win. If you are stimulated by competition and the idea of winning, use that competitive streak to your advantage and invite your family and friends for a fun game night. Use various brain games like the following:
- Star Wars: Imperial Assault
- Terraforming Mars
- Twilight Struggle
- A Feast for Odin
- The Castles of Burgundy
- Root Caverna: The Cave Farmers
- Dinosaur Island
- 7 Wonders
- Game of Thrones: The Board Game
- Stone Age
- Catan: Trade, Build, Settle
These games rely less on luck and more on planning. It will help you learn how to build clear goals and teach you to use your analytical skills and strategic thinking to reach that endgame. And you get the bonus of beating your family and friends during a fun game night, too.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or learn from others
Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know or understand something. You might come to find that the more you improve your analytical skills and strategic thinking, the more you realize how much you don’t know about a certain idea or topic.
Attend online seminars, watch YouTube content and TED talks, and ask experts in your life—and you will be a better learner in no time. Permit yourself to admit when you don’t understand something. You can do it!