Apply the 7 Ways How Engineers Think to Win in Life

Unleashing the power of how engineers think in your everyday life can be a game-changer. You’ll find yourself thriving and less stressed.

Now, I get it. Many non-engineers out there might already think like engineers, and that’s awesome! But, hey, there’s always something new to learn.

Sure, engineering has a ton of different specialties. But at their core, the most successful engineers share a unique way of thinking. So let’s dive into the top thinking patterns of 10x engineers.

#1 Laser focus on solutions

focusing to win and find solutions

When an engineer encounters a problem, they don’t waste time getting bogged down in its complexity. Instead, they dive headfirst into problem-solving mode, chipping away at issues until the solutions become clearer.

Take the moon landing, for example. A defeatist attitude would have killed that dream before it even started. But with baby steps, NASA paved the way for safely landing humans on the Moon. Talk about an incredible lesson in mindset!

How to apply how engineers think to your daily life

Problem: Living paycheck to paycheck.

Normal thinking: Life sucks and will never get better.

Thinking like an engineer: You acknowledge the money problem but don’t dwell on it. Instead, you brainstorm ways to improve your situation, like:

  • Budgeting
  • Getting a second job
  • Going back to school for a better career
  • Starting a business

2) Relentless pursuit of improvements

Engineers are always on the lookout for ways to enhance products and processes – even if things are already going well. Just consider how many times phones have evolved in the past decade!

The point is, an engineer’s mind never stops, never grows complacent.

How to apply how engineers think to your daily life

Problem: You’re feeling down after achieving the classic American dream of a family with a white picket fence.

Normal thinking: You can’t find purpose in your life, and regrets consume you. You start to resent your life, and negative thoughts tear your family apart.

Thinking like an engineer: You take a good look at your life and make a list of changes and improvements to feel more fulfilled, such as:

  • Relationships
  • Fitness
  • Home improvement projects
  • Quitting your day job and starting a business
  • Spending more time with your kids and spouse

Your list gives you goals to work towards, and as a result, your family life improves.

3) Insatiable curiosity about the world

Picture an engineer stuck in traffic for over an hour at the same spot every day. While most people would be fuming, the engineer ponders the root cause of the jam.

Their analysis includes questions like:

  • Are lots of cars changing lanes at once?
  • Are several lanes merging here all at once?
  • Is there a congested off-ramp ahead?
  • Is this stretch of highway poorly designed?

This inquisitive way of thinking turns every issue into a puzzle. You either solve it or gain a new appreciation for the challenge

How to apply how engineers think to your daily life

Problem: Your flight gets delayed.

Normal thinking: You’re furious because your travel plans are ruined.

Thinking like an engineer: You dig into the reasons for the delay, considering the complexity of coordinating flights at airports, such as:

  • Managing countless planes on limited land and airspace
  • Coordinating with national and international airports
  • Working around weather conditions
  • Handling plane maintenance issues
  • Managing passengers

This deeper understanding eases your mind, and you marvel at our modern world. After all, it’s amazing that we can fly to any corner of the globe in less than a day, when not long ago, it took months to cross dangerous seas by ship.

4) Embracing rational thinking in decision-making

Embarking on the journey to become an exceptional engineer, you’ll soon discover that rational thinking is key. It hits you that the laws of physics couldn’t care less about your emotions. A design either works or it doesn’t, regardless of whether you’re over the moon or down in the dumps.

As a result, engineers make rational thinking second nature. Like a catchy tune you can’t get out of your head, engineers keep their emotions in check and think rationally to sidestep disastrous decisions.

How to apply how engineers think to your daily life

Problem: Your spending habits are out of control.

Normal thinking: You feel like life dealt you a raw deal, and saving is just impossible.

Thinking like an engineer: You acknowledge your lack of financial know-how. You scrutinize your spending habits and explore ways to be money-smart. You begin by setting a budget and curbing reckless spending.

5) A healthy dose of paranoia 

Engineers are well aware that their work can result in massive financial losses and even harm people. One wrong move could land them in a scorching hot mess of legal troubles. It’s no wonder that engineers must adhere to their profession’s code of ethics.

So, engineers naturally develop a healthy dose of paranoia. They double and triple-check their work, and they don’t hesitate to ask colleagues for feedback. The more safety nets to catch errors, the better they sleep at night.

How to apply how engineers think to your daily life

Problem: Texting while driving.

Normal thinking: You assume a quick text while driving won’t cause an accident. After all, you’ve done it countless times with no issues.

Thinking like an engineer: You’re aware of the harrowing statistics about texting and driving accidents. You understand that various unpredictable factors can affect driving:

  • Drowsy drivers
  • Drunk drivers
  • Vehicle malfunctions
  • Weather conditions
  • Debris on the road
  • A maddening text that distracts you

You consider your safety as a function of these variables. By eliminating as many variables as possible, you reduce the chances of an accident.

6) Informed decision-making with factual data

data driven to get solutions

Every sound, sight, and observation is a data point for engineers. They know that the more info they collect, the better choices they can make. Take underground high voltage cable design, for instance. A lousy design can be insanely costly. That’s why power engineers gather essential details, like:

  • Soil resistivity at the installed cable depth
  • Soil temperature at the installed cable depth
  • Length of the cable run
  • Cable voltage
  • Load rating

Sure, engineers sometimes have to make assumptions. But having more cold, hard facts leads to better designs.

How to apply how engineers think to your daily life

Problem: You splurge on a fancy appliance based on an enticing ad, only to find it doesn’t perform as expected.

Normal thinking: You’re furious, feeling duped by the company. The ad claimed the product could do X, but it can’t. You never imagined an ad on a popular TV channel could mislead you.

Thinking like an engineer: You gather as much data as possible before making a purchase. Your research includes:

  • Reading customer experiences on forums
  • Watching YouTube reviews
  • Investigating the product’s individual components
  • Reaching out to previous buyers
  • Contacting the manufacturer with your questions

In a nutshell, you aim to make the most informed decision possible, realizing you can’t just take a company’s word for it.

7) The focus on small steps in a process

Ask a regular Joe how to make a sandwich. They’ll tell you to grab two slices of bread and shove some sandwich goodies inside. But ask an engineer, and they’ll give you an ultra-detailed play-by-play, like:

  1. Grab two slices of bread
  2. Set the bread on a plate
  3. Slather mayo on one side of each slice with a knife
  4. Pile cut meat on one slice of bread
  5. Chop tomato, lettuce, and pickle, and lay them on the meat
  6. Squirt mustard from the bottle onto the sandwich fixings
  7. Sprinkle salt and pepper over everything
  8. Cap it off with the other slice of bread

how engineers make sandwiches step by step

Now, I might’ve gone a tad overboard with this sandwich scenario, but you catch my drift. Engineers always break stuff down into bite-sized steps. And let’s be real: it makes design work a whole lot easier and more manageable.

How to apply how engineers think to your daily life

Problem: Pulling an all-nighter to cram for your final exam.

Normal thinking: You believe you can cram a semester’s worth of material into one sleepless night. Coffee powers your study marathon.

Thinking like an engineer: To truly master a subject, you know you need to nail the basics first. You crack open your textbook on day one and dutifully finish all your assigned homework. If you’re ever stumped, you ask for help.

Applying how engineers think to your daily life

So there you have it. The thought processes that rocketed humans to the Moon are now in your hands.

If you can adopt just a few of these thinking techniques, you’ll make game-changing improvements in your life.

How does the engineer mindset compare to your current thought process? Which of the traits I mentioned do you think is the most crucial?


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