When I discovered my thinking style I started making better decisions.


In Factfulness, Hans Rosling starts by asking 13 simple fact based questions on general knowledge of the world. 

He uses facts that are well documented and not disputed. The tests are uncomplicated and there are no trick questions.

Yet most people do extremely badly. 


We get things wrong, as Hans Rosling explains, because of ten misleading instincts. 

It’s the unconscious filters we see the world through.

It’s HOW we process data that impacts our decision making.


Are you a talented plate spinner or a certain brilliant theoretical physicist?


Life is busy. 

There’s a lot of ‘noise’. 

Current conventional wisdom urges us to focus and slow down. 

When we pay attention we can make better decisions… right? 

Not always. 

In her revealing book Becoming, Michelle Obama writes how her husband Barack is a ‘plate spinner…he spins plates on sticks… and it’s not exciting unless one’s about to fall”.

Some people get bored. They thrive in chaos. 

They’re able to make great decisions by jumping to (the right) conclusions… going on gut instincts… taking in the big picture. 

And there are others…like Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory… where decisions are best made by imposing order to unstructured environments.

Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory

Like Sheldon’s “spot”, everything has it’s place.


Facilitating… and anchoring… thinking styles


There’s no wrong or right way. 

It’s a matter of how we process data. It’s a preference.

It’s about the domain in which we thrive… which is intricately linked to our thinking styles.


There ARE styles which anchor us to our current capabilities. And others that help us grow. 

To avoid the plates from crashing… or getting stuck like Sheldon… we could learn to... 

….‘tone-down’ anchoring thinking styles… such as reflective, explorative or impulsive... as well as

…. ‘tune-into’ facilitating one… such as the holistic, integrative or intuitive styles.

In doing so, we reach closer to our potential. 


What gets measured… gets done


Back to the metaphoric and reflective thinking styles.

Seven years ago, I took an advanced computerised assessment technique which externalises and tracks thinking processes to indicate my cognitive preferences and capabilities. 

I found out my predominant thinking style. 

Being naturally Reflective, my tendency is to carefully consider situations and check facts and conclusions – characterised by constant checking and rechecking to ensure accuracy. It would unnecessarily slow me down.

Picture by Mathew Schwartz

At the same time, I also discovered I had strong story-telling metaphoric abilities… which I could harness… by externalise my hyper-imaginative thoughts and ideas bubbling in my head.

When I learned to I tone-down one style and fine-tune another… my creativity flourished. 

I improved the clarity and speed of my decision making capacities.




Given the world is constantly changing… with ever more uncertainty and complexity… the need for exercising sound judgement is increasingly important.

Picture by rawpixel

Knowing HOW we process data is the first step toward better decision making.

And it starts by knowing and working on your anchoring and facilitating thinking styles.

There are 14 measurable thinking styles*.

Do you know yours?


*check out the Resources page to know what the 14 thinking styles are.


About the author


Selena is a leadership advisor and a coach for people in transition who want to reach their potential. To transform insight into action, Selena uses psychometric assessments amongst other approaches.

Here are what some of her clients have said about using the assessments:

"... the cutting-edge technological tools Selena uses to assess potential is astonishingly accurate and practical. Her coaching triggered a major positive shift in my career."

 “… these are powerful assessment tools useful for both life, work and relationships. Selena masters the assessments and can link the different aspects providing an outstanding support and good grounding on the topics to work on.”

“…very quickly I was faced with many new insights on myself. The methods Selena use are extraordinary, very human, but still challenging.”

If you are interested to find out how coaching and assessments can help you get clarity, send an email to selena@selenabetton.com