Thinking Critically

Charity Obiyo Written by C-Baby · 1 min read >

Critical thinking is important because every choice you make is limited to what you know when you made that choice. The more you know, the more capable you are of making decisions that will get you what you want.

Critical thinking is the disciplined art of ensuring that you use the best thinking you are capable of in any set of circumstances.

How to think critically

1 Pick a subject of interest (begin with something that fascinate you) and ask the following questions what, when and where Do not stop asking these questions until you have confirmed every factor yourself to the extend the story makes sense.

2 Divide your learning time among these areas by researching, reading asking expert questions and collecting factual information. Processing and ranking information with the most important at the top and least important at the bottom as follows using the inverted pyramid:

  • The lead: usually containing the who, what when and how of the article
  • The body: this contains facts and further information, most of which is necessary, revealed in order of importance.
  • Fluffy stuff of little importance fading into oblivion

3 Output through writing, sharing your thought with someone or making videos of it.

Strategies for Clarifying your Thinking

  • State one point at a time
  • Elaborate on what you mean
  • Give examples that connect your thoughts to life experiences
  • Use analogy or metaphor to help people connect your ideas to a variety of things that they already understand.

Three principles ways to build critical thinking:

  • Question Assumptions
  • Reason through logic
  • Embrace diversity of thought

A systematic approach is needed for decision making 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

Steps for Systematic Approach in decision Making:

  1. Understand the situation: This is when all relevant information is collected and also being able to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information.
  2. Identify and define the problem: Identify the right problem and avoid confusing symptoms with problems
  3. Define your objectives: Be cleared about the goals to achieve and overcome conflicts arising from different perspectives
  4. Generate alternatives: Holding brainstorming sessions provides a useful sources of alternatives
  5. Identify criteria / considerations/ limitations: Conditions which alternative must meet in trying to attain established objectives helps to focus on what is most important and prevents you from an unfounded inclination towards one option or the other. It could be ethical, financial or socio/psychological.
  6. Analyse the alternatives by evaluating the alternatives using established criteria and examine both qualitative and quantitative issues. Established the tradeoffs/opportunity cost/consequences long term vs short terms outcomes
  7. Make a choice, take that decision: The most optimal choice/decision is the one that meets the criteria you have set the best; that ultimately fulfills your objective. Mentally immerse yourself in the decision you have taken, if you do not feel right about the decision, you may have missed something.
  8. Develop an action plan: How are you going to implement the decisions you have taken? Is there risk associated with your decision and is there a way to minimize those risk?

Finally, decision making process does not stop because you have made the decision. Be ready to re-evaluate but don’t get hung up on whether the decision is right or wrong. #MMBA3

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