How Crosswords Help in Building Strategic Thinking

by Ross Geller 10 months ago in advice

The Ability to Become a Better Strategic Thinker

How Crosswords Help in Building Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking is more often a term used in the professional arena. We read and hear about some top class business leaders gaining success from their ability to think strategically, and making decisions cleverly. But how do they do so? Basically, strategic thinking is about how to connect ideas, plans, understand patterns, and people then built a solution around those understandings.

It is not difficult. We just need to know the right techniques of gaining the ability to become better strategic thinker. Do you remember playing mind games when you were young? Why our parent gifted games, which included solving puzzles. This is how our cognitive thinking ability developed. Mind games like Sudoku, Chess, or crossword puzzles, picture puzzles give us the scope to prompt our mind and think beyond. It broadens our horizon to imagine, allowing us to generate ideas and examining them, and then arranging rationally.

Crossword puzzles were easily accessible since we were young. Its contribution in helping built strategic thinking skill are discussed below.

Understanding Pattern

This mind game is not only a fun activity done by children or seniors alike, to kill time. Every crossword includes a particular pattern or a theme. Identifying those patterns helps you reach to a solution quicker. And thinking strategically is about understanding the pattern of any problem. How did this problem arise? How is it affecting your work or your life? What other elements are included in the problem? These questions need to be answered first.

Identifying Metaphor

Crosswords always include a metaphor which has to be figured out by the solver. A clue to reach to the solution! Finding that clue takes some effort forcing our mind to think creatively and critically. There is some witticism involved, which plays the trick in activating our brain cells. For example, instruct, educate, reveal could be possible clues to the word ‘Teaches,’ or "eye" could be a clue for just ‘I.’ The best way to practice is to look for publications that regularly come up with new puzzles every day. Find out some clues to your word from the Wall Street Journal Crossword Answers having the best possible answers to the clue.

Six Thinking Hats

Playing puzzles can ignite our brains to think in a very organized manner. It functions as a system like the six thinking hats, introduced by Edward De Bono, used as a tool for taking decisions, whether in a group or as an individual. The steps are basically divided into six colors signifying the progress of thinking in each step. Crossword puzzles involve first analyzing the questions in the mind, then with a hunch and some judgment, an answer is chosen. With some multiple attempts of trial and error, we end up finding several other possibilities. This is how our mind manages to adopt a particular thinking process.


When mind games are played in groups, it not only enforces group bonding, but also helps us to put ourselves in other peoples’ shoes. How do they think? What are their possible answers to an issue? It gives you the opportunity to discuss ideas with different people, bringing different solutions to the table. There can be brainstorming sessions to solve some complicated puzzles. A business flourishes well with a healthy collaborative effort of all stakeholders. Being able to think in a strategically way benefits in the long run.

Decision Making

While playing puzzles we ought to make a decision and choose an answer every time to proceed further. This enhances decision making capability. One correct answer can make the puzzle easier to solve. The whole of our brain is used to arrive at the solution. Strategic thinking majorly involves decision making. We need to understand the different aspects of the problem and then make the decisions in every step until we get the best answer. Making decisions changes the entire nature of any problem. This paves a way for the ability of our minds to think from multiple angles to arrive at a conclusion. It is a lot about executing in the right manner.

Clear Vision

A strategic thinker always needs to have a clear vision of every prospect to the problem. Puzzles enable to practice using our mind in a manner where we need to go through a process of focused vision. What could be the possibilities? What will come next? How will that be tackled? If we place this word, will the others fit in right? We need to know our answers. This is very essential in dealing with our real-life troubles. Unless we know what we want, we cannot succeed. For a creative thinker, the mind should always be ready to have a vision.

Continuous Learning

Crossword puzzles are not a onetime activity. This should be adopted as a habit for life long. People who indulge religiously in doing crosswords every day are also committed to becoming life-long learners. This is very necessary to think strategically. Why? Experiences teach us everything. Unless we know how to imbibe learning from those experiences continuously we cannot build that critical thinking capacity. If you stop learning, we also stop utilizing our mind to find pioneering ways of dealing with situations.

Challenging Our Mind

Difficult crossword puzzles challenge our mind to broaden our thinking horizon. The game comes along with curiosity. We have this urge to learn more and generate better ideas to establish connections between them. It makes us step out of our comfort zone, and demands our effort to look into something from different perspectives and adopt different approaches. It can highly improve our strategic thinking skill by testing the limit of our minds.

Anyone can become a strategic thinker. To excel in our personal and professional lives we need to learn and hone strategic thinking skills, and make practical use out of it in solving real-life problems. Indulging in playing crossword puzzles devotedly can go a long way in helping us do so.

Ross Geller
Ross Geller
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Ross Geller
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