What is Critical thinking?
Critical thinking is reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do. In other words, critical thinking is deep thinking.
Why is Critical thinking important?
Everything you do, want, or feel is influenced by your thinking.
Every choice you make is limited to what you know when you made that choice. So, the more you know the more capable you are of making decisions that will get you what you want.
The outcome of poor thinking can be frustrating because it will not get you what you want after all.
Poor thinking wastes time and energy. It brings about frustration.
Critical thinking helps you make better decisions.
Its goal is to be able to make informed judgments!
It is however, important to note that critical thinking does not come naturally, it takes discipline to put your best thinking to use.
How do you learn the art of critical thinking?
To maximize the quality of your thinking, you must first become an effective critic of your thinking.
Some practices to help learn the art of critical thinking are listed below:
- Always clarify your thinking and someone else’s thinking- This is to figure out the real meaning of what you are thinking or what someone is saying. You can achieve this by stating one point at a time, elaborating on what you mean, and you can also give examples to clarify your understanding.
- Stick to the point- When you are working through a problem, focus on what sheds light on the problem and do not allow your mind to wander to unrelated matters.
- Ask questions- Ask questions to understand and effectively deal with the situations around you. Question the status quo on a regular basis.
- Be reasonable- Be flexible enough to change your mind when given a good reason to. Be willing to suspend your beliefs to fully hear the views of others. Embrace diversity of thoughts.
You need to develop an organized approach to solving problems (simple or complex) and making rational decisions as opposed to emotional decisions or decisions based on intuition or instinct alone.
This is because:
- It provides a framework for gathering and managing information, especially in complex situations.
- It acknowledges both subjective and objective thinking and blends analytical with intuitive thinking.
- It helps to minimize cognitive biases that often plague our decisions.
A systematic decision-making process includes:
- Understanding the situation-Asking questions of, What, Why, Where, When Who and How will be useful here to identify and collect all the relevant information.
- Identify and define the problem- The way you state a problem frame your decision
- Define your objectives- To avoid conflicts, be clear about your goals.
- Generate alternatives- This is where you put on your thinking cap to determine other options.
- Develop the criteria- These are parameters to determine which alternatives is best. Conditions that the alternatives must meet to attain the established objectives.
- Analyse the alternatives-Examine both qualitative and quantitative issues.
- Make a choice-Make a choice of the alternative that best meets the criteria to achieve the objective.
- Develop an action plan.
- Be ready to re-evaluate.
In conclusion, you must understand that the development of thinking is a process that occurs through many years of practice.
You must be deliberate in thinking about your thinking to get the best out of your thinking.
Thank you for reading.