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Linear Thinking Vs. Global Thinking: Enumerating the Differences

Linear Thinking Vs. Global Thinking
Linear thinkers process information in small chunks, and in a sequential manner. Global thinkers process information in large chunks, and want to know the bigger picture. We shall delve deeper into these two ways of thinking.
Deepa Karandikar
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Linear Thinkers: First notice the trees before they look at the forest.
Global Thinkers: First look at the forest before they notice the trees.
Your style of thinking is your way of processing information that you have gathered. Your thinking style influences:

► How you learn or grasp a subject or a concept.
► How you work on a task assigned to you.

Through the upcoming sections, we shall understand, compare, and contrast two ways of thinking - Linear Thinking vs. Global Thinking.
Global Thinking
too many holes
Global thinkers focus on the bigger picture, or the grand scheme of things. They take in new information if it is in accordance with the bigger picture they have conceived. They tend to ignore the smaller, intricate details. When global thinkers undertake a task, they will first define the goal that they have to achieve, gather all the information that is required for it, and then come up with a strategy. They will actually set out to do the task, process new information that comes and developments that happen on the go, and use it in such a way that they achieve their end goal.
Linear Thinking
big hole
In the linear thinking process, a concept is perceived to follow a series of steps. Linear thinkers think that there is a definite beginning to a concept, then it follows a series of steps to culminate at an ending point. When they undertake a task, they will plan it into a series of steps. Then, they will do step 3 only after they have completed step 2. While learning, linear thinkers analyze a given topic thoroughly.
While Learning
creative brain sign
Linear thinking is a left-brain activity, and global thinking is a right-brain activity.
landing to the goal
Global Thinkers: When learning a particular subject, global thinkers will first understand the objective of learning the subject. As we said earlier, global thinkers want to know the bigger picture, hence, they will want to know the purpose that the subject will serve. They will find out what exactly the teacher or the trainer is wanting to convey. They will see how the knowledge of that subject will affect their daily life, or how it can be applied to daily life. They will find out what skills the teachings of the subject will impart to them. Thus, global thinkers will search for the direction in which the subject will take them, and without knowing this, they will feel lost or purposeless, or will not be motivated enough. Global thinkers will understand a subject in all its totality. While doing this, they may take up theory and practicals of the subject at the same time, thus multitasking. In this process, such people find it easier to generate newer ideas that are in accordance with the main theme of the subject.
towards success
Linear Thinkers: While exploring the intricacies of a subject, linear thinkers will do so in a step-by-step fashion. They will start with the basics, and once they have understood and analyzed them, they will proceed to understand their applications. They will understand the facts or laws presented in the subject by comparing them with other facts. They will also see if the converse holds true or not. They will attempt to find the corollaries of the law. Linear thinkers will attempt to find a structured approach towards understanding a subject. They are better off if the subject unfolds in an orderly, sequential manner, where one thing leads to the next, and finally comes to a conclusion.
While Working
Linear thinkers are micro-managers, and global thinkers are visualizers.
Planning a Party
Global Thinkers: They will focus on the theme of the party, and then proceed to organize it. They will first decide the occasion, the reason they want to celebrate, and the statement they want to make through it. They will then decide the venue, guests, food, and the entertainment for the party, such that it falls in accordance with their vision.
Linear Thinkers: Linear thinkers will follow the conventional route. They will meticulously plan the details for the party, invite the usual guests, and plan the venue and food that fits their preferences and budget. Then, they will finally decide what entertainment they will offer their guests. Usually, it is something that is commonly liked by everyone.
Making Friends
Global Thinkers: While making friends, global thinkers will decide the qualities and values that they are searching for in people. They might make friends from different walks of life, different age groups, spanning different geographical areas, as long as they fit into their vision of a relationship.

Linear Thinkers: Linear thinkers will follow the usual way; they will make friends that they met in school, college, workplace, neighborhood - those that are available to them.
Doing a Project for a Science Exhibition
Global Thinkers: Global thinkers will follow a top-down approach while doing a project. They will decide what they want to achieve or put across through the project. They will then find the ways and means to achieve it.

Linear Thinkers: Linear thinkers will follow a bottom-up approach. They will plan the team, their project guide, and then find out what sources of information they have to plan the project. Then, they will decide the topic and carry out the project one step after another.
While making a team in your workplace, we suggest you make it in such a way that you have a combination of linear and global thinkers. The global thinkers will focus on the bigger picture and be the visionaries, while the linear thinkers will focus on the detailing of tasks. These major differences between linear and global thinkers would provide a win-win situation for the team.