There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you!
It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love!
The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish!
And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it!
Why do you do such a thing?
C. JoyBell C.
Critical thinking is an incredibly important life skill. We use this kind of thinking in every aspect of our lives every single day. While it is an important part of academic and business life and success, it is not often taught in schools unless it has been made part of a math, science, or business curriculum.
The basic definition of critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment. It is ability to take information and make informed decisions without your judgement being influenced by your own assumptions. Critical thinking is based on being in control of your own thought processes rather than letting it take control of you. It is being able to think clearly without dragging our biases along for the ride.
Strategies for Developing Our Critical Thinking Skills?
Because of its importance in our daily lives, critical thinking is a skill that anyone would benefit from developing and using. We can all learn how to think critically and improve your problem solving skills with little extra effort.
Practice these techniques at home and at work and you will soon reprogram your brain to automatically look at all sides of a problem:
1. Think for yourself.
- First, do not be in such a hurry to ask others for the answers to your problems.
- Step back from the question or problem and look at the subject from all angles.
- Consider all of the relevant information about the situation to exercise critical thinking effectively.
- Try not to make snap judgments.
- Examine all of the evidence closely and absorb all of the data before you come to a conclusion.
- When you consider all relevant data, your decision will be well thought out.
2. Evaluate issues objectively.
- Evaluating the information without letting our own opinions affect our judgment is one of the biggest hurdles people face when trying to develop their critical thinking skills.
- Objective reasoning does not happen overnight.
- We have to make a conscious effort to get past our own opinions.
- Try imagining that you are not yourself, but instead a totally neutral outside observer.
- How would this change your view of the situation?
- Being able to get yourself into this mindset will help you make great leaps in developing your development critical thinking capabilities.
- Even if it takes more time than you would like to sharpen your critical thinking skills, the benefits far outweigh the effort.
- Critical thinking will help us see a whole new way of looking at the world and can do wonders for our abilities as problem solver.
- As a critical thinker, you will be better equipped to face the challenges presented by an ever changing world and you will be well served in both your personal and professional life.
Teaching Others Learn to Think Critically
As with most things in life, if you begin teaching your children how to think critically, they can master this process, which will benefit them greatly as adults. Most of us are exposed to adults who need to learn this skill. Here are a few ways we can help them:
1. Ask questions.
- Reinforce what people learn by working on simple projects with and for you.
- Push them to think more deeply and broadly about the issues involved in the projects, and the ramifications for the lives of others who may be affected.
- Ask their opinions about projects they may not be directly involved in.
2. Respect their opinion.
- People come to us as complete individuals with their own belief systems.
- Listening to them and considering their opinions will instill confidence.
- Confident team members who voice their opinions will become confident colleagues who will actively participate in the workplace.
3. Let your staff members think for themselves.
- If you do everything for your teammate and answer every single question for them, they will come to always rely on you for their answers, rather than thinking through a problem or situation.
- Encourage people to find their own answers to their questions and praise them when they find the answer.