The Art of Thinking: From Ramen Shops to Critical Thinking



Sep 21, 2023 • 4 min read


The Art of Thinking: From Ramen Shops to Critical Thinking

In today's fast-paced world, where information overload is the norm and distractions are just a click away, the ability to think critically has become more valuable than ever before. Surprisingly, this skill is rarely taught in schools, leaving individuals to navigate through life without a method of thinking. However, there are valuable lessons we can learn from unexpected sources, such as the story of a popular ramen shop started by university students.

A viral sensation on social media, this ramen shop captured the attention of netizens with its long queues and innovative approach to menu development. What sets them apart is their use of Instagram as a platform for live-streaming their new menu creations. During these live sessions, they actively engage with their viewers, incorporating their comments and suggestions into the recipe development process. This unique approach not only creates a sense of community but also allows for a collaborative and iterative way of thinking.

This story teaches us that thinking is a process that can be enhanced through active participation and the integration of diverse perspectives. By actively seeking input and feedback from others, we can expand our thinking and develop more innovative solutions. This approach goes beyond the confines of a ramen shop and can be applied to various aspects of our lives.

But what does it mean to think critically? According to Farnam Street, a blog dedicated to the art of thinking, critical thinking is the ability to analyze and evaluate information objectively, without letting biases or preconceived notions cloud our judgment. It is about asking the right questions, challenging assumptions, and considering multiple perspectives before arriving at a conclusion.

One crucial aspect of critical thinking is the ability to concentrate and focus on one thing at a time. Research has shown that multitasking not only impairs our ability to think but also hinders our overall cognitive performance. A study conducted by Stanford University revealed that individuals who frequently multitasked were not only worse at multitasking itself but also struggled with mental filing – organizing and retrieving information efficiently. In contrast, those who took the time to concentrate on one task at a time were more likely to develop original ideas and make better decisions.

Slowing down and dedicating time to think deeply may seem counterintuitive in a world that glorifies busyness. However, as William Deresiewicz, an American writer, emphasizes, it is through concentration and patience that we can arrive at original ideas. The busiest people often find themselves making poor decisions, spending an excessive amount of time correcting their mistakes. To avoid this trap, it is essential to schedule dedicated time for thinking and honing our understanding of the problem at hand.

So, how can we develop and improve our critical thinking skills? Here are three actionable pieces of advice to get started:

  • 1. Embrace diverse perspectives: Seek out viewpoints and opinions that challenge your own. Engage in meaningful discussions and debates that force you to consider alternative viewpoints. By exposing yourself to different ideas, you expand your thinking and develop a more comprehensive understanding of complex issues.
  • 2. Practice active listening: When engaging in conversations or reading articles, actively listen to the arguments being presented. Take the time to reflect on the information and evaluate its credibility and relevance. By actively engaging with the material, you develop the habit of critically analyzing information rather than accepting it at face value.
  • 3. Carve out thinking time: Just as you schedule meetings and appointments, make it a point to schedule dedicated time for thinking. Create a conducive environment free from distractions and spend this time reflecting, brainstorming, and developing ideas. By prioritizing thinking, you prioritize the quality of your decisions.

In conclusion, the ability to think critically is a skill that can be honed and developed over time. By embracing diverse perspectives, practicing active listening, and carving out dedicated time for thinking, we can enhance our thinking abilities and make better decisions in all aspects of our lives. So, let us take inspiration from the unlikely story of a ramen shop and strive to cultivate the art of thinking.


  1. "SNSで話題 行列のできる大学生起業のラーメン店(2021年3月6日)", (Glasp)
  2. "How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught - Farnam Street", (Glasp)

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