In a world that is flooded with opinions coming from people as well as institutions all over, you can easily get influenced leaving very or no room for your independent thoughts. Lack of proper thinking can lead to poor understanding and decision making. Students especially must master the skill of critical thinking to make sound personal as well as professional decisions in life.
Critical thinking, however, is not just required to improve decision making but for so much more.
What is critical thinking?
Right from our childhood, we are told what to think but aren’t taught how to think. We have been trained to think about things in specific set ways and believe everything that is told us at face value. How often though, do we question what is being told to us? This is the absence of critical thinking.
Critical thinking is a kind of detailed thinking in which one analyses a given fact/situation of a piece of information to its core, tries to approach it from various perspectives to get a holistic understanding of the matter at hand, pose questions to extract more information about the matter and then react accordingly with sufficient and appropriate pieces of evidence and justification.
Critical thinking looks somewhat like this:
An office manager of a firm starts receiving frequent complaints from various department heads about an employee not meeting deadlines and carrying out shoddy work. In such a case a critical thinking manager, instead of firing the employee, will make sure they get a safe space to put forth their concerns and try to further understand what factors are causing the employee to perform poorly at work. This sort of critical thinking will help in resolve the issue at hand.
Advantages of critical thinking
Makes you analytic:
Critical thinking pushes one to carefully examine something, whether it is an issue, data, or a simple text. Deep analysis helps one to approach a matter in unique ways.
Helps in decision making:
Since critical thinking involves thinking analytically about a particular issue from all sides, it helps you to make an informed decision leaving very little scope for any kind of errors.
Improves communication skills:
Critically thinking about problems or data requires immense research work. This collection and analysis of detailed information also help in communicating your judgements and opinions backed by strong evidence with much clarity to someone who is unaware of the problem at hand.
Makes you flexible and open-minded:
Given the human ego, it is extremely difficult to set aside personal judgements, opinions and biases. Critical thinking demands one to be open to all kinds of arguments and points of view which most of the time conflict with personal opinions as well as interests. This leads to one forming an open mind welcoming all kinds of information.
Critical thinking requires one to come up with innovative solutions or finding out newer ways of looking at problems or matters. This leads to creative thinking as well as making one even more efficient with solving a problem or building perspectives creatively.
Skills you must develop to think critically
- You must be curious about everything.
- You need to be eager to find out more and more information.
- You must be inquisitive and doubtful of everything to hear and see.
- You must develop a habit of asking questions about everything
- You must learn to approach a matter systematically and be aware of your thought process
- You must learn to put aside your personal bias/opinions and ego to receive all kinds of information, even those that conflict with your interests.
- You must always look for evidence to back your information or arguments
- Look beyond what’s show or read between the lines to study all the factors of a matter
- Approach an issue with logic and pragmatism.
- Steer clear of assumptions
Where can you use critical thinking?
Critical thinking is a life skill that can be used in every sphere of your life. You can make a crucial career choice with the help of critical thinking or even make a marriage decision based on it. It is especially useful in pulling you out of tricky dilemmas since it helps you critically analyse your options and think about their consequences. A mention of this skill in your resume and cover letter will attract a lot of employers as well since the skill is needed at almost every professional level making you an ideal job candidate.