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Your human brain has an incredible ability: the ability to reason. Reasoning just means thinking about something in a logical way. And logic relies on strict principles, or previous knowledge that justifies reasoning.
In this article we’re going to focus on two distinct types of reasoning, to look at how they work and what they create. For our purposes we’re going to keep it applicable to self improvement.
The first type of reasoning is deductive. I want you to think of a Sherlock Holmes story. In order to solve a mystery, Sherlock collects clues and utilizes his photographic memory to deduce, or logically come to a conclusion. But this also requires deductive methods, mainly subtracting information that is determined to be irrelevant to the final conclusion.
Most of us reason deductively. When making a decision, we use our deductive reasoning to recall the preexisting knowledge in our head to help guide us. Sounds like a good idea, right?
In many cases it is, but what about when you’re confronted with making a decision about fundamentally changing the way you do something, in order to change the results you’re creating in your life? If you’re only relying on deductive reasoning, you close yourself off to possibility.
You’re only relying on what you already know to make a decision. When you reason like this, the conclusion you come to seems like it’s the only possible one, the only way it can be. And if it’s reliant on past experience and knowledge, it will recreate something similar to before, not something new.
Inductive reasoning, on the other hand, looks to reveal something new. Rather than being constrained by premises and assumptions, reasoning inductively looks at probabilities, or the way it could be.
Inductive is defined as the process or action of bringing about or giving rise to something. When it comes to wanting to change something in your life, inductive reasoning can push you out of your thought patterns, and introduce you to the way things could be, rather than assuming that you just are who you are, and your thoughts and behaviors are limited by that.
Your reactive mind naturally defaults to deductive reasoning. Your active mind is where you entertain possibility outside of your conditioned thought patterns, and this is where reasoning can become inductive, or open to new things.
So which one?
Deductive reasoning is about subtracting possibility until a conclusion is reached. Inductive reasoning is about considering possibility, with an open conclusion.
Here’s why it’s important to understand the difference: if you only rely on a deductive method, you only rely on what you know.
If you introduce an inductive method, your possibilities become much more vast.
There are areas in life you want to use a deductive method. A logical conclusion can not only be helpful, but it can save a lot of time.
But when it comes to actually wanting to shift your identity, to change your behaviors to create entirely new ways of being into your life, inductive reasoning is a must. You have to open your mind to more possibilities than are contained in your current, logical mind.
Your brain might tell you this is unreasonable. Of course it thinks that. Inductive means introducing new thought that you might not be able to easily reason out at first. Your ability to reason (reason-able) will be hampered. But this is where change comes from. We must be willing to step outside the mold of our efficient thought, and get our hands dirty with new ideas, so to speak.
Work with me
Learning when and where to use inductive versus deductive thinking can be a life changing experience. I teach the skill of being able to intentionally observe what type of reasoning your conditioned thought is creating, and how to open yourself up to inductive reasoning.
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