Ever been in a situation where you need to make some tough call with speed?
We make decisions daily, decisions on what to eat, wear, schools to attend, route to take to work, etc. The outcome or success of these decisions lies in the thoroughness of our decision-making process. Sometimes, we have little time for a lengthy deliberation, but the significance of the matter forces us to subject our thoughts to some scrutiny.
Your confidence in your judgement will most likely stem from how you think and your experience with decision making over time. This brings us to an important subject on Critical Thinking.
Critical thinking is all about consciously identifying how your thought process works and how it connects ideas and facts. Richard Paul defined it as “Thinking about the thoughts you’re thinking, in order to think better”. A deliberate attempt to critic one’s thought to self-improvement is the key element of critical thinking. Using the enquiry model to test how rational and organized your thought process is and if it is void of biases.
It is imperative to ask the right questions; “the why” and “what if” questions. It helps to challenge our thinking in the right direction. It is a tasking but needful exercise considering the magnitude our thinking poses in adding quality and richness to our lives.
To be sure your thoughts are well clarified, precise, and not muddled, if you need to write down things to connect and link ideas, please do so. The objective is to have complete facts and data without wandering or aiming about, concentrating only on salient and relevant matters.
We must constantly question the thoughts that we feed our minds. How it is relevant to the question at hand and what we could be missing out on. Don’t accept information and ideas hook, line and sinker.
Learn to ask meaningful questions that give insights to the problem at hand. Information available are not always accurate or as it seems. Questioning and seeking answers will help reveal further knowledge into the problem, which by so doing you have better and less bias view about the subject. Sometimes, the first questions don’t give the perfect answers, you can rephrase them to give clearer and deeper meaning.
In all of these, you should be open minded and receptive to correcting your thoughts when you discover better ways of thinking; where you have valid reasons to redirect your chain of thoughts due to the new facts received from others. You should be willing to adjust your views upon carefully evaluating all available options and assumptions and establishing each’s significance. There is a tendency to want to stand firmly on your initial thoughts limiting your ability to listen actively or weigh alternative arguments. Don’t fall into this pit. With more alternatives, more thoughtful analysis should be borne.
Following this process judiciously, your reasoning experiences development, criticism and questioning with a level of assurance that the output is a refined and tested version, serving as an input into your decision making process.