The Art of Critical Thinking

Ejiroghene Ekpogbe Written by Ejiroghene Ekpogbe · 2 min read >

As human beings, we make thousands of decisions every day, from small decisions like deciding on what to eat or what to wear, to complex decisions like deciding on the career path to take or the best time to make a career shift.

I have learnt from the Analysis of Business Problems course that the type or nature of decisions we make can be drawn from two decision-making models. These are known as the System 1 and System 2 models.

System 1 model states that decisions made here are usually automatic, made effortlessly, with little thought given to such decisions. These are decisions our subconscious mind makes, as it contains patterns that influence our responses to information. For example, if I am to decide on what to eat by looking at my refrigerator or food store, I am certainly going to decide based on what I see, without putting much thought into it.

System 2 model is regarded as the realm of conscious thoughts. The most important decisions we make are often hard to make and they require a lot of thinking. For example, decisions like choosing the right career path, or choosing the right spouse, require a lot of thinking and consideration.

I have also learnt from the Analysis of Business Problems course that information is the fundamental raw material for decision making. Whether we are making small decisions from the subconscious mind (system 1) or complex decisions from the conscious mind (system 2), our decisions will be based on the information available to us. To make important decisions, however, we need to be more critical about how we process information. This is the “art of critical thinking.”

Critical thinking, simply put, is thinking clearly and systematically to make better decisions. It is the disciplined art of ensuring that you use the best thinking you are capable of in any circumstance. It is thinking about “your thinking.” The goal of critical thinking is to make informed judgements.

I learnt that when thinking about making a sound decision; the process starts by providing answers to the who, what, when and where questions. Afterwards, critical thinking is then applied by providing answers to the how and why questions. This is why it is often said that critical thinkers make better decisions, because they make effort into their thinking.

I have also learnt from the Analysis of Business Problems course that the purpose of the course among others, is to help people hone their ability to think critically and make good judgements, to develop an organised or systematic approach to solving problems and making rational decisions. The Analysis of Business Problems course teaches that to think critically is to move beyond the obvious answers, which usually answer the who, what, where, and when questions, to focusing more and providing answers to the how and why questions.

How can I become a critical thinker?

While reading some of the reading materials for the Analysis of Business Problems course, I noted some statements that stood out for me in an article titled “Learning the Art of Critical Thinking.”

“You are better off if you are a skilled thinker.”

“As a manager, leader, employee, citizen, parent, friend, in every realm and situation of life, good thinking pays off.”

“Poor thinking leads to problems, wastes time and energy, and engenders frustration and pain.”

These statements further buttress the importance of being a critical thinker. The last statement goes further to let me know the implications of not thinking critically. Realising that poor thinking can cause me problems, as the statement puts it, I think I will be better off if I were a skilled thinker, as the first statement puts it.

Having attended some sessions in the Analysis of Business Problems course and gained some knowledge, I am happy to know that this course will equip me with the skills I need to think critically, analyse problems and make rational and implementable decisions as a business manager, and overall, as a human person.

Thinking is hard and solves problems, but the ability to think critically solves complex problems.



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