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Fast Thinker vs Slow Thinker: Is one better than the other?

In my previous blog post, I spoke about the importance of ‘Brainstorming’. Where you get together with people or a team and start thinking about new ideas or even finding solutions to a problem. When you get into a group, there will be a mix of personalities and thinkers.

I’m really Inspired by Nobel Laureate and psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s 2011 book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’. So today, I want to talk about the two key types of thinkers: The Fast Thinkers vs Slow Thinkers and how to leverage on the different types of thought processes during your next brainstorming session.

Let’s start by identifying the traits properly.

If you’re more impulsive, instinctive and ideas pops into your head with “no sense of voluntary control”, then you are a ‘fast thinker’.

If you tend to think more consciously, are deliberative, and mostly rational - Then you are a ‘slow thinker’. You come up with ideas, solve a problem and formulate an argument better when you focus, pay attention, monitor and control your behaviour and take your time.

Generally, ‘slow thinkers’ are usually subjected to the perception of being ‘weak’ while ‘fast thinkers’ are usually perceived as ‘charismatic’. But my personal views on this would be if you can identify and understand who in a group are the ‘fast thinkers and slow thinkers’, you can then identify ways to reduce conflicts and accelerate your brainstorming sessions better and have more positive outcomes.

First, ‘fast thinkers’ can present ideas more authentically because their thinking is less ‘processed’, but it potentially can be more prone to errors, appear irrational and be biased. This is where ‘slow thinkers’ can come it to balance out the thinking process. But, it is important to note that thinking “more slowly” can be helpful ONLY IF it increases the chances of thinking more soundly about a problem.

It would then be a logical leap to conclude that a ‘fast thinker’ can debias themselves by slowing down, and complement the thoughts of ‘slow thinkers’ with a goal to reach correct answers because they are collectively more reflective.

I believe, in scenarios such as in a brainstorming session, you will improve decision-making by moving away from “thinking fast” to avoid falling into thinking traps and try to practise “thinking slow” which will (in most cases) produce a better outcome. So the answer is in my opinion, none is better than the other when it is within a brainstorming environment particularly. Leverage on your strengths despite how fast or slow your thinking process may be.

I do note however, that there will be instances where you are required to ‘think fast’ or present yourself as a ‘fast thinker’ especially if you want to convince an investor for instance! (But I’ll save that discussion and tips in another blog entry!).

Let me know your thoughts or feel free to suggest a blog topic for me to talk about in the Comment box below!

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