The Concrete Sequential Thinker’s Journey
If you are unfamiliar with Anthony Gregorc’s Mind Styles Model, it is an organized way that aims to show how our minds think. The model breaks down the way we think into two perceptual qualities (concrete and abstract) and two ordering abilities (sequential and random), totaling to four different combinations of thinking styles:
- Concrete Sequential (CS)
- Abstract Random (AR)
- Abstract Sequential (AS)
- Concrete Random (CR)
My own personal thinking style is concrete sequential. Concrete sequential thinkers tend to be “based in reality. They process information in an ordered, sequential, linear way.” (If you want to find out what your thinking style is, you can take the test at The Learning Web.) It is important to note that no one is purely one style; everyone has a unique combination of each of these qualities. Furthermore, not one thinking style is better than another; they are just different. It is interesting to note that when I took the test two months again, my results were slightly different, so the way you think can change over time.
As a concrete sequential thinker, I process information in an “ordered, sequential, linear way.” I detect information and what is around me through my five senses (sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell). Concrete sequential thinkers tend to notice and recall details and facts-specific information easily (such as rules, formulas, and logic).
I plan on maximizing my thinking style while I am learning at DBC. As a concrete sequential thinker, I have very strong organizational skills. Since I absorb information through my physical senses, I plan to learn with a “hands on” approach. I will also provide myself with details and break down my projects into concrete, sequential steps that I can follow. Focusing on the strengths of my thinking style will allow me put what I need in place to learn more effectively. (To read more about the other types of thinking styles, check out this article from Boise State. You can also learn more about what works and what do not work for each thinking style in this article from SUNY Cortland.)
Again, I want to stress that just because you have one thinking style doesn’t mean that you can’t think in any other style. No one is purely one style and thinking/learning styles can change. Your brain is not static. It can grow and evolve if you allow it to, as shown by Carol Dweck‘s research on fixed and growth mindsets.
In short, a “fixed mindset” assumes that ones intelligence and abilities are inherited and cannot change. You are born with how much intelligence you have. These people will do things that they are good at to display their intelligence and avoid doing things that they may fail at. They avoid risks and challenges. A “growth mindset”, on the other hand, thrives on challenges and is not afraid of failure. They welcome failure and use it as a springboard for growth. They learn from their mistakes and use it to increase their knowledge. (To read more about fixed and growth mindsets, click here.)
Similarly to thinking style, your mindset isn’t one or the other either. You can have a growth mindset in some areas and a fixed mindset in other areas. I make an effort to always have a growth mindset on everything, but I still fall back into a fixed mindset sometimes (i.e. I will never learn how to swim…).
Nevertheless, keep this in mind and don’t let failure deter you. In fact, embrace it. If you have never failed at what you’re doing, then you aren’t challenging yourself enough. If one thing isn’t working, learn from your failures and try again another way. Some see failure as the opposite of success. I see it as necessary milestones on the way to success.
This blog has been initially published on tonymai.github.io.