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How to be a quick thinker: 7 ways to think faster

Want to be the charismatic, quick-witted person everyone admires? Tired of regretting missed opportunities to shine? Uncover the secrets to unlocking your mind's potential and becoming a rapid thinker, even if you weren't born a genius!


Research reveals the key factors that will boost your cognitive speed and help you craft clever responses on the fly. Get ready to transform how you think and interact with the world around you!

What are the signs of a quick thinker?

If you swiftly respond to questions, think creatively, learn quickly, and excel at mental challenges, you may be a quick thinker. Evidence suggests that specific cognitive abilities and neural processes underlie rapid thinking.

Studies show that quick thinkers (with a bias for action) exhibit higher levels of fluid Intelligence,1 efficient information retrieval,2 and increased activation in the prefrontal cortex,3 a brain region associated with decision-making and problem-solving.

Quick thinkers often possess a heightened working memory capacity4 and cognitive flexibility,5 allowing them to process multiple pieces of information simultaneously4 and adapt to generate novel ideas and solutions more efficiently.

The benefits of thinking fast in daily life

Faster thinking offers advantages in many aspects of life. Research shows that fast thinkers are perceived as more charismatic by their peers7 and experience increased happiness when forced to think quickly.3

Additionally, quick decision-making conserves willpower, reducing feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm.8

While careful deliberation is valuable in some circumstances, the ability to think on your feet offers several benefits:

  • Increased efficiency: Quick thinkers process information and make accurate decisions rapidly, enabling them to work more efficiently and accomplish tasks faster.
  • Enhanced problem-solving skills: Fast thinkers excel at identifying crucial details and using deduction to formulate responses, analyzing issues without getting bogged down in excessive analysis.
  • Perceived intelligence: People often connect faster thinking and speaking with intelligence, which helps you gain the respect of peers, even if this assumption isn't always accurate.
  • Increased reliance from others: As a known quick thinker, people may seek your input when they need prompt decisions, leading to greater respect and trust from your peers.
  • Boosted confidence: Studies link fast thinking with increased happiness,9 and combined with the perception of cleverness, this can significantly boost your confidence and comfort in social situations.
  • Reduced analysis paralysis: Quick thinking helps you focus on the big picture and avoid getting lost in minor details, preventing the overwhelming feelings associated with indecision.

Understanding what it means to think fast

Don't be discouraged if you don’t see yourself in any of the above signs or benefits of a quick thinker. Like a muscle, quick thinking is a skill that can be developed and strengthened.

Keep reading; later, we'll share several strategies to help you improve your ability to think quickly, both in conversation and in your actions.

But first, it’s important to understand what quick thinking really means. It's not about blurting out the first thought that comes to mind or giving incorrect answers. Instead, quick thinkers efficiently consider all possibilities and solutions before reaching a conclusion.

For instance, when faced with a choice between 2 options, a quick thinker might consider the following:

  • Identifying essential factors: Distinguishing between critical information and irrelevant details.
  • Evaluating consequences: Assessing the potential outcomes of choosing Option A.
  • Comparing alternatives: Examining the possible results of selecting Option B.
  • Considering combinations: Determining if a mix of both options is feasible.

After swiftly analyzing each point, the quick thinker will choose the "best first" option. While there may be an even better solution, this approach prioritizes making a good decision quickly over spending excessive time debating the pros and cons.

Quick thinkers believe that promptly delivering a good solution is more valuable than working out the best one after extensive deliberation. Many successful individuals, such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, share this mindset.

How to think faster in conversation

Now that you understand that quick thinking isn’t about errors and knee-jerk reactions let’s talk about how you can build this skill yourself—starting with how to do so in conversations with other people.

Here are a few tips to help:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of a deep breath.
    Taking a brief pause before you speak to process your thoughts sounds counterintuitive, but it can help you think faster and communicate your ideas better. That breath you take before speaking might feel long, but the people around you likely won’t notice. Allow yourself a moment before sharing your ideas so you can process what you want to say and how to say it best.
  • Avoid filler words.
    Using unnecessary filler words such as “um” or “uh” can make you seem like a slower thinker than you really are. Take that deep breath mentioned above, gather your thoughts, and then speak up so you can easily articulate what you want to say without having to pause between words or fill the silence with fluff. Cutting out or minimizing those filler words can also keep you more focused on your point and your message, which makes you seem like an even quicker thinker.
  • Listen carefully.
    Part of thinking faster requires processing information better. How can you process information better? Try active listening. Listen to understand what people are saying around you, and be sure to pay attention to facial expressions and the nonverbal communication cues they’re using as well. Careful listening and observation can help you form a response that hits upon what the other person was trying to communicate, whether it was said aloud or not. This practice will make you seem like a fast thinker in conversation who doesn’t miss a beat.
How to Improve Your Listening Skills | 5 Surprising Techniques | Fingerprint For Success
  • Go with your gut.
    If all else fails, follow your gut instincts. Many people who work regularly under pressure, such as emergency responders, say they make a lot of decisions based on their gut instincts. Usually, your intuition or gut is spot on, and you can quickly make decisions based on what it tells you. As you’re in conversation with others, feel out what other people are interested in and adjust your thinking and communication to respond to those cues quickly.

7 strategies to develop quick thinking

Developing quick thinking isn't limited to conversations and interactions with others. Whether you want to make personal choices faster, solve problems efficiently or get better at critical thinking, here are some effective strategies:

1. Trust in your strengths and expertise

When a topic arises that you're well-informed about or skilled in, trust your intelligence and offer your insight. Concentrate on providing quick input on a few topics you excel at, and you'll be able to contribute better, more accurate insights much faster.

🎯 Pro tip: Start our free Trust Your Gut Feel online coaching program. Guided by an AI coach, it is designed to help you learn how to think faster, trust your instincts, and improve mental performance. With just 20 minutes of dedication per week, you can make significant progress in your thinking speed.

2. Make minor decisions quickly

For inconsequential or unimportant decisions, choose quickly and move on. This helps you focus your time and energy on the critical elements of an issue and avoid wasting time on small details or things that don't matter.

🎯 Pro tip: Take our free Start Fast online coaching program. It will help you develop the skills to start new projects, conversations, and tasks rapidly. 

3. Exercise your brain

Keep your mind sharp and boost brain health by engaging in mental exercises such as sudoku puzzles and crosswords, practicing a musical instrument, or participating in practice debates with friends. Even calculating tips mentally after dining out can stretch thinking skills and improve executive functioning. In fact, any activity that requires extra brain function will work to develop a faster mind.

🎯 Pro tip: Use the Lumosity App to exercise memory, flexibility, and more. In a Lumos Labs study, 10 weeks of Lumosity training improved memory, processing speed, problem-solving and fluid reasoning versus the crossword control group in 4,715 participants.

4. Practice meditation

Research shows that meditation strengthens the brain to think faster, increase focus, and improve attention and cognitive function. Regardless of the type of meditation you choose, clearing your mind and practicing being fully present and aware of your surroundings can yield long-term mental health benefits.

🎯 Pro tip: Start a daily meditation habit with the Calm App to improve mental clarity

5. Maintain a healthy body

A sharp mind requires a healthy body. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and engage in regular aerobic exercise. Maintaining good health will help you feel energized and have enough endorphins to clear your mind and think quickly.

🎯 Pro tip: Start our free Vital Well-Being online coaching program. In this high-impact nine-week program AI Coach Marlee will help you to increase your energy, vitality, and general well-being

6. Engage in improvisational activities

Improvisational skills can be helpful in real life. For example, the golden rule of improv, "Yes, and," encourages actors to build upon each other's ideas. This mindset requires quick thinking and adaptability. By practicing improv or studying its principles, you can train yourself to pivot quickly and run with new ideas.

🎯 Pro tip: Try one of the many improv courses on Udemy that teach the fundamentals of improvisational thinking.

7. Avoid multitasking

Research concludes that multitasking doesn't lead to increased efficiency or speed. To be a quick thinker, focus your energy on one task or issue at a time without becoming distracted. Narrow your focus and prioritize one thing at a time, allowing you to think through each task or question quickly before moving on to the next.

🎯 Pro tip: Canva's Eisenhower Matrix is a great tool to train yourself to focus on the right tasks at the right time. 

Feeling unmotivated?

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Quick thinking is a skill that can be developed

If you don't consider yourself a quick thinker, don't be discouraged. Quick thinking is an essential skill that can be developed with practice and commitment. By incorporating the strategies described above into daily tasks, you can train your mind to perform cognitive tasks more efficiently without sacrificing processing accuracy.

To support your journey towards faster, more accurate thinking, explore our resources and online coaching programs. Answer questions on what motivates you, set your personal goal to "think faster" and our AI Coach, Marlee will recommend personalized coaching programs to help you achieve your goal to enhance your cognitive speed.

If you often find yourself overwhelmed by information overload, practicing quick thinking strategies will help you maximize your mental processing speed and minimize distractions that hinder your ability to think faster.

Remember, the key to success lies in consistently challenging yourself to think faster while maintaining a healthy mind and body. Create a roadmap and action plan to guide you toward your goals, and don't hesitate to seek support from mentors or peers along the way.

🚀 Unleash your mind's potential with quick thinking!

Transform how you think and interact with the world through our personalized, quick-thinking coaching programs. Designed by experts and backed by research, our approach will help you develop lightning-fast cognitive skills to excel in conversations, at work, and in life. 🌟 Unlock the potential of your brain power and join the ranks of elite thinkers. Take the first step towards a sharper, more agile mind and more accurate thinking.


  1. Kovacs K and Conway AR, 2016, Process overlap theory: A unified account of the general factor of intelligence. Psychological Inquiry, 27(3), 151-177. https://doi.org/10.1080/1047840X.2016.1153946
  2. Sheppard LD and Vernon PA, 2008, Intelligence and speed of information-processing: A review of 50 years of research, Personality and Individual Differences, 44(3), 535-551. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2007.09.015
  3. Fink A, Benedek M, Grabner RH, Staudt B and Neubauer AC, 2007, Creativity meets neuroscience: Experimental tasks for the neuroscientific study of creative thinking, Methods, 42(1), 68-76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2006.12.001
  4. Baddeley A, 2003, Working memory: Looking back and looking forward, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 4(10), 829-839. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn1201
  5. Zabelina DL, O'Leary D, Pornpattananangkul N, Nusslock R and Beeman M, 2015, Creativity and sensory gating indexed by the P50: Selective versus leaky sensory gating in divergent thinkers and creative achievers, Neuropsychologia, 69, 77-84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.01.034
  6. Association for Psychological Science, 2006, How 'Manic' Thinking Makes Us Happy, Energized And Self-confident, Science Daily, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060926171045.htm
  7. Association for Psychological Science, 2015, Quick thinkers are charismatic, Science Daily, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151203081228.htm#:~:text=The%20research%20shows%20that%20people,IQ%20and%20other%20personality%20traits.
  8. Becky Kane, The Science of Analysis Paralysis, ToDoist, https://todoist.com/inspiration/analysis-paralysis-productivity
  9. Heflick N, 2018, Thinking Fast, Feeling Good? Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-big-questions/201809/thinking-fast-feeling-good#:~:text=Much%20research%20has%20found%20that,creativity%2C%20and%20self%2Desteem.

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