The Four Main Thinking Processes

I’ve always found it helpful to remember the four main levels of thinking:

  1. Analysis: Taking an alarm clock apart to find out what makes it tick. Involves description and classification.
  2. Synthesis: Putting parts of three clocks together to make one functioning alarm piece. That is, you put parts of the old together to form something new.
  3. Application: Using information to do something.
  4. Evaluation: Using information to decide whether something is of value.
  • Guillermo Rosas

    Thanks, Matt for your blog is an excellent means to find useful ideas for the most difficult task: organizing our lives and ministries for God’s glory.I’ve been amazed at how much I agree on most of your “RECOMMENDED BOOKS ON…” because those are my preferred authors. On your “4 thinking processes” my comment is that it is a very useful and practical to “think how are we thinking” about something…many times we can avoid great mistakes by improving our thinking processes before they lead us astray. Keep on doing this great blog thing! I’ve just discovered it, and I keep coming to find excellent help!

  • Matt


    That’s really encouraging. Thanks for your encouraging words, and thanks for reading!


  • Guillermo Rosas

    Thanks again for your wonderful blog. It continues to provide excellent insights for managing our lives in a much better way.

    I want to make a small contribution from something that I found the other day while reading Thomas Merton on “How to Know the Will of God”. And I think it is related with the whole area of work and how we understand what is the best use of our time there. Even when I don’t agree with everything that Merton wrote, I think that he touches aspects of life and reality with a depth and scope that we should pay attention.

    I found it in “New Seeds of Contemplation”, by Thomas Merton, published by New Directions Paperbooks in 1972, pages 18-20. It goes like this:

    “How am I to know the will of God? Even where there is no other more explicit claim on my obedience, such as a legitimate command, the very nature of each situation usually bears written into itself some indication of God’s will. For whatever is demanded by truth, by justice, by mercy, or by love must surely be taken to be willed by God. To consent to His will is, then, to consent to be true, or to speak truth, or at least to seek it”.

    “The requirements of a work to be done can be understood as the will of God. If I am supposed to hoe a garden, or make a table, then I will be obeying God if I am true to the task I am performing. To do the the work carefully and well, with love and respect for the nature of my task and with due attention to its purpose, is to unite myself to God’s will in my work. In this way, I become His instrument. He works through me. When I act as His instrument my labor cannot become an obstacle to contemplation, even though it may temporarily so occupy my mind that I cannot engage in it while I am actually doing my job. Yet my work itself will purify and pacify my mind and dispose me for contemplation”.

    “In any case, we should always seek to conform to the LOGOS or truth of the duty before us, the work to be done, or our own God given nature”.

    I agree with the statement that there is a LOGOS or truth in every task to be performed. And I think that there is great peace of mind when we follow the dictates of every work’s implicit design to do it for God’s pleasure.