I’ve always admired high-level thinkers. People like Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Ada Lovelace, and, of course, Leonardo da Vinci and Nikola Tesla.
They’re special and will always be remembered. But can mere mortals like you and me learn something from them? Are there any habits that connect them?
There certainly are. So, let’s dive in and discover the unusual habits that indicate high-level thinkers.
1) They’re always asking questions and digging deeper
High-level thinkers are the perpetual question-askers. They don’t settle for the surface; they’re the ones asking why and how, even when everyone else is satisfied. They have an insatiable appetite for understanding the world around them.
Without such reasoning, we’d never have penicillin, electricity, internet, or even the freaking wheel.
For all of these things, intelligent and high-level thinkers had to sit down and find out how to make them happen.
Thanks to them, we get to watch The Office and not think about anything. Ups!
2) They’re open to considering ideas that challenge their own
Instead of being confined by their own ideas, they actively search for perspectives that challenge their thinking.
It’s like having an entryway that’s always open to new concepts, ensuring a continuous flow of fresh and diverse ideas.
Take, for example, Thomas Kuhn. He’s the philosopher of science who introduced the concept of scientific revolutions.
His willingness to question established scientific paradigms challenged the traditional view of how science progresses.
So, you see, instead of sticking to a single path, high-level thinkers explore a multitude of perspectives.
They’re always ready to take a detour and explore new intellectual landscapes. This kind of thinking often results in innovative solutions to problems.
Their curiosity also spans across disciplines, and they’re able to extract insights from diverse sources and apply them in unexpected ways.
3) Instead of fearing it, they see failure as a learning opportunity
High-level thinkers see failure as a stepping stone, not a stumbling block. They have a mindset that turns setbacks into setups for future success.
Failure becomes a valuable teacher, offering lessons that propel them forward. Each stumble is a chance to learn, adapt, and come back stronger.
They understand that success often emerges from a series of attempts, adjustments, and learning curves.
Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Edison’s numerous attempts and failures were integral to the eventual success of the light bulb and other inventions.
4) They have unique daily habits that work for them
Did you know that Oprah starts her day with mindfulness and meditation? This daily habit helps her set a positive tone for the day and sustain clarity amidst her busy schedule.
Okay, that’s not so surprising, is it?
But what about this:
Andy Warhol was obsessed with routine and ate the same lunch every day for over 20 years – a can of Campbell’s soup.
This seemingly mundane habit was a conscious part of his artistic expression and fascination with consumer culture.
High-level thinkers like him have habits that seem quirky to others, but these routines are carefully crafted to optimize their thinking.
It’s like having a unique recipe for mental productivity, where each ingredient plays a role in their daily cognitive masterpiece.
Have you found your daily routine yet?
5) They enjoy tackling complex problems
These thinkers also thrive on challenges. They love having a mental playground where problems are puzzles waiting to be solved.
They don’t shy away from complexity; instead, they roll up their sleeves and enjoy the opportunity to untangle intricate issues.
I’m not saying I’m a high-level thinker, but I love complex problems that I can think about for many days, even weeks, and months.
I love it when I have something that consumes my mind and doesn’t let go. Some might say this allows me to escape the mundane things in life. (And they’d be right!)
6) They don’t limit themselves to one genre or subject
Instead of confining themselves to a single genre or subject, they’re like curious wanderers in a vast intellectual landscape, eager to discover the hidden treasures scattered across different fields.
Picture it like this: their minds are not gated communities but rather open parks with tracks leading to diverse areas of thought.
I have an interesting example: Mayim Bialik.
She’s known for her role in The Big Bang Theory. But she’s also a neuroscientist in real life. Her ability to navigate both the world of entertainment and academia highlights the power of diverse interests.
There’s also Anthony Bourdain, who was a renowned chef, but also delved into writing and became a travel documentarian. I loved watching his food journeys.
His ability to combine culinary expertise with storytelling made him a unique and influential figure. He’ll forever be remembered.
7) They can grasp and work with abstract concepts
Unlike some of us who prefer things that are concrete and straightforward, they enjoy dancing with the intangible.
They’re comfortable wandering through the land of what-ifs and maybes, and this skill opens up a whole realm of possibilities.
Think of it as having a telescope that can zoom out beyond the immediate and palpable.
They don’t just see what’s in front of them. They can peer into the distance, envisioning potential outcomes, innovative solutions, and ideas that might not have a physical form yet.
That’s amazing, right?
8) They notice connections and patterns others might miss
But they also excel at seeing patterns, finding relationships between seemingly unrelated ideas, and recognizing the significance of those connections.
In everyday scenarios, while others might see separate events or ideas, high-level thinkers are the ones saying:
“Wait, what if this is connected to that?”
Their ability to spot connections allows them to navigate through a maze of information with clarity that often leads to innovative insights and solutions.
It’s a skill that sets them apart, turning what might seem like unrelated pieces into a cohesive and comprehensive understanding of the world around them.
Take, for example, Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple.
Wozniak’s brilliance in connecting hardware and software elements was crucial in the creation of the first Apple computer.
He not only designed the hardware but also created the software that powered these machines.
His ability to see the connections between components laid the foundation for the personal computing revolution.
He envisioned a future where computers could be accessible and user-friendly, connecting people with technology in ways that were unprecedented at the time.
His design philosophy emphasized simplicity and elegance, connecting the dots between advanced technology and user experience.
9) They adjust their approach based on new information
They’re also not rigid or stubborn about their plans. If something changes or if they learn something new, they’re quick to shift gears.
They have a built-in ability to pivot, making their approach more effective and relevant.
They’re the ones who smoothly say, “Okay, let’s tweak this a bit,” and keep moving forward with a strategy that’s always evolving based on the latest details.
How to become a high-level thinker
To become a high-level thinker means you need to develop certain habits and perspectives that encourage creativity, critical thinking, and a deep understanding of complex concepts.
Here are some tips to help you become a high-level thinker:
1) Stay curious
Keep asking questions about the things that interest you. Wonder why things work the way they do and seek out answers. It’s like being a perpetual “why” asker.
2) Learn from mistakes
When things don’t go as planned, don’t sweat it. Instead, figure out what went wrong and how you can do better next time.
Mistakes are like those annoying but helpful friends who teach you stuff.
3) See things from different angles
Imagine looking at something not just from your point of view but from someone else’s too. It’s like trying on different pairs of glasses to see the world in new ways.
4) Think deep, not just wide
Don’t just skim the surface. Dive into stuff. If you’re into a topic, really dig into it. Be like a detective investigating a case, but your case is understanding something cool.
5) Let your imagination roam
Let your mind wander sometimes. Imagine things that might not be right in front of you.
Think of it like having your own little movie playing in your head and that can help you come up with cool ideas.