Critical thinking is the act of understanding a problem by analyzing facts. Understanding the process and knowing how to do this more effectively will benefit both your personal and professional life because it will help you base your actions on facts rather than feelings and emotions. It starts with focusing not on what you think but HOW you think.
objective not subjective
Critical thinking should be an objective rather than a subjective analysis and based on pulling from all available facts and information (multiple sources) before reaching a conclusion. This means analyzing something without allowing personal bias, feelings or assumptions to influence you.
Those who quietly observe their surroundings rather than reacting impulsively tend to understand more. When you are good at this, you can even see trends coming and using your intuition, make better decisions for yourself. You can train your observation muscles by practicing mindfulness and learning how to quiet your mind. We have a tendency to want to instantly react to things because of social media. We need to be part of the conversation, like or comment on something instinctively. Sometimes stepping back helps you see the big picture.
COLLECting information / Data
There is so much information out there that we can often get overwhelmed, or, even worse, trust easier sources such as our peers. However, conducting unbiased research, looking at all sides of an issue, asking relevant and thoughtful questions about the information you collect helps ensure you have all the information you need to make a qualified decision. We should always challenge ourselves to learn something new, especially about subjects that challenge our worldview. It is only then that we can truly open our eyes and see the world as it is rather than through our own lens.
When you are able to effectively communicate with others about any issue you can ask better questions, listen more actively, learn from others and not shy away from difficult discussions. This will help you be more objective and challenge your biases. Seeing things from another’s’ perspective and experience also helps you understand others in a real way. Even if and when you disagree with someone, truly listening and having a respectful conversation makes you a better human.
Analyzing possible solutions
Once you have gathered all the information, then you can use your problem solving skills to make an informed decision and recommendations. A critical thinker always looks at every possibility and chooses the right path for them based on all the gathered information. They are also more qualified to discuss the subject matter with everyone in a respectful, knowledgeable way because they have truly been objective. Everyone has their own method of doing this so find what works best for you.
- Looking at the world, situations and events in an objective rather than subjective manner removes personal bias and helps you see more clearly.
- See the big picture by flexing your observation muscles. This will help you be a more effective critical thinker.
- When collecting information and data about a subject, ensure that it is unbiased and spans all sides of the issue.
- When you effectively communicate with others, you will ask better questions, challenge your biases and learn from others.
- Once you have all the information, you are better positioned to make an objective decision based on facts and not emotions.
TRY THIS: Reflect on the critical thinking skills you already possess and those you may need to develop. Work on the ones that you need work on.
POST IT NOTE: I will be an objective thinker
Click for recorded segment exclusively on BlastTheRadio.com: CRITICAL [10:48 mins]
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