Critical Thinking refers to the process of evaluating proof, the information available to one, observations, and reasoning in order to reach a conclusion. In simple terms, Critical thinking is the ability to understand the logical connection between various and sometimes conflicting ideas, making you become an active participant in the process of evaluating ideas before you adopt one based on reason and logic. The issue is complicated; numerous definitions exist, but the main idea is that Critical Thinking involves a reasonable, skeptical and unbiased investigation or assessment of facts.
Critical Thinking enables us to identify and eliminate weaknesses in our process of making decisions, allowing us to achieve a better result. Thus, you will need a bunch of skills relating to problem-solving and decision-making regardless of what you are doing and where you are, and you will sometimes be required to work on your critical thinking skills in order to be better equipped to handle daily life situations.
Making decisions entails assessing your possibilities, acquiring information about them, and coming up with resolutions that best suit your needs. Making decisions using a systemic approach can help you make more deliberate, efficient, and just overall better judgments.
Now considering that we make decisions, both big and small every day- ranging from what to eat for breakfast to whether or not to take a job in a different company. So, it is helpful to know how you can work on improving your critical thinking skills. You can improve your ability to look at situations in terms of a more critical perspective in the following ways-
1. Understand what solution you desire
In the popular show Lucifer, the protagonist often posed the following question to everyone he wished to interrogate- “What is it that you desire?” Or something like that, I’m not really sure. Anyways, this brings us to my point. The first question to tackle in critical thinking is to gather an understanding of what you desire. You should begin by trying to figure out what solution you are looking for. All the decisions that we make have a goal or purpose, and understanding what that is, and what we require as consequence, provides us with a good and informed place to start. Sometimes, when faced with big questions and difficult choices, you will probably struggle to find the appropriate and most satisfying decision till you have answered these questions.
2. Think about the ramifications of the potential choices that you make
Every choice that we make has ramifications not only for ourselves, but also for any other people who may have some involvement in the problem at hand, and occasionally even those who aren’t. You must consider the potential repercussions of all of your alternatives and choose the one that helps you the most while minimizing the bad effects on others. Making a list of benefits and drawbacks, or pros and cons in common language is a smart approach to start. Considering every possible consequence, both positive and negative will allow you to settle on a better decision.
3. Do your homework first for Critical Thinking
Many of us are hesitant to give up on our views while making decisions because we rely heavily on the information that we already have. While this method may work for minor decisions, it does not always end up giving you the optimal outcome when it comes to major ones. To address difficulties, critical thinking demands that you sometimes let go of your convictions. Unwillingness to study, do your research, and possibly adopt new, more informed and well-thought-out beliefs will simply keep you from growing and will have no bearing on your ability to think critically. You will realize that by doing your background work and focusing on learning, you will change and adapt and hence, increase your ability to think about your decisions and the options presented before you critically.
4. Think of it in smaller steps Is important for Critical Thinking
It’s an important skill to be able to look at things in the big picture, but occasionally, it might prove to be even better to look at things in smaller, zoomed-in pictures, so to speak. Sometimes it helps to break your problems down into smaller chunks. The rationale for this is that smaller pieces are easier to process and work with cognitively. Working with a large number of minor details is easier than attempting to address a larger problem, which can become overwhelming.
A good way to do this is to use the six thinking hats method. It entails sorting components of the problem in front of you into six broad categories, each of which is allocated to a different colored hat. White, Red, Yellow, Green, Black, and Blue are the six colors in question. Some people also consider wearing a seventh ‘Royal’ hat.
The cold, unbiased, and objective facts are represented by the ‘white hat.’ The ‘black hat’ depicts all of the potential for things to go wrong, as well as the judgment of probable scenarios and retaining a level of caution when dealing with them. The ‘green hat’ indicates new ideas and alternate pathways to explore, as well as different perspectives on the subject at hand. The ‘red hat’ signifies your instincts and your gut feeling about where the solutions you’re following will lead you. The ‘yellow hat’ is a symbol of hope and optimism. The ‘blue hat’ indicates your capacity to organize your time and information in the most efficient way possible. It also refers to your capacity to manage your options in terms of which path you’ll take to tackle the problem, as well as how you manage your time. The ‘royal hat’ represents your passion and interest in addressing your problem, as well as your desire and ability to visualize your task in a larger context—in other words, your willingness to look beyond the box.
Lastly, don’t overthink things too much. Obviously, think your problem and solutions through, but try to avoid overcomplicating them. Many of us have a proclivity for thinking about and complicating things even more than we need. It’s necessary to think things through, but overthinking simply makes things more difficult. You must learn to distinguish between thinking things out and overthinking them. There are times when keeping things simple is the best option.
Read more about other soft skills you need to develop here https://www.skillcamper.com/why-are-soft-skills-so-important-for-your-career.html/
Enhance your knowledge of Critical thinking with these videos from Leeds University Library
Leeds University Library https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAXUkVT_ilo and listen to Jordan Peterson is so valuable who tells you to begin with writing to think critically. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0vUsxhMczI
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