Critical thinking is inevitably an undeniable skill to develop if you are to do well in life. Well, I mean just about survive! If you are a poor critical thinker, please be prepared to renounce hopes of thriving and making it big in this fiercely competitive world! However, critical thinking can be learned.
This of course, has to be followed through with concrete action.
Here’s what you can do to develop critical thinking skills:
· A significant aspect of critical thinking is Problem-Solving. This includes—recognizing a problem, finding out the root cause, evaluating the available information, effectively communicating your information to those connected to your problem, then making an informed decision and acting on it. This is important for all kinds of problems you may encounter in life. For instance, if you are late to work every day and are getting into trouble for it, you have to figure out what is the root cause behind you being late every day? If it’s because of transportation problems, you need to figure out how to work around it. You need to communicate to your boss why you are late and what you want to do to fix it. Then make a decision on how you are going to address the problem and act on it.
· Another aspect is to be able to Draw Sound Conclusions. All the information in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to evaluate the information, interpret the data, draw inferences and come to a solid, unbiased conclusion. Many a times when something is brought to our notice, when we do not carefully consider all the facts, any conclusion we arrive at, will lack substantial ground. So look and consider carefully.
· Critical Thinking and Decision-Making go hand-in-hand. A recommended way to evaluate a decision is to make a ‘pros and cons list’. Simply pen down all the advantages and disadvantages about a decision and see which list outweighs the other. It is important to get as much information as you can before making decisions so that the decisions you make are foolproof. Then it’s less likely you’ll regret the decision later. However, you must keep in mind the essence of timely decision making in today’s fast-paced world, if you wait around forever, lingering for as much information as you can gather, you will most definitely miss the bus. Making timely yet acute decisions based on key information is an art which is fueled by critical thinking.
· Another life-maxim is to think before you act. Don’t make impulsive decisions powered by emotions instead of logic. When you take time to think about something; it engages your brain and helps disengage your emotions. It is especially important to conduct your due diligence if the decision is going to be a major one and is likely to have a significant impact on your life. For e.g. don’t decide to move to a new city on a whim. Especially since we now have all the information at our disposal at a mouse-click, it is easier than ever before to substantiate our decision for example, to relocate, based on the cost of Living Index, transportation facilities, career prospects, safety etc. of the destination city.
Whether it is the person you choose to marry, the coveted job offer you want to grab in ‘the big-city’, the dream poolside holiday villa that you aspire to buy in the country wilderness or the romantic, relaxing get-away that you are planning next summer to the azure Bora Bora Islands on the French Polynesia, critical thinking will almost always do the trick for you!