Several times, we read a piece of news and draw a conclusion. We never think about the authenticity of the news. But with critical thinking, you conclude after considering all the facts.
What is Critical Thinking
In critical thinking, sources such as facts and data hold an important position. A good critical thinker discriminates between useful and worthless information. With this, he/she becomes immune to figuring out solutions to complex problems. Individuals with critical thinking skills stay focused. They also are inclined to upgrade their knowledge. And so, they become the best leaders who boast a thought process of improvement.
Richard Paul and Linda Elder define critical thinking as, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. They further state that it presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It also entails effective communication, problem-solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.
But not every person is a critical thinker! So, hereby we are listing some of the traits that are the foundation of critical thinking.
How to think Critically ?
1. Be Observative
While implementing critical thinking, it is important to review every result. And for that, it is important to be observative. While collecting data, make sure to not miss any detail. Also, after getting the desired result, be observative to install changes, if any!
Observation is one such skill infused in each one of us since high schools. Our teachers and parents train us to observe every minute detail. As children, we develop this ability to explore the world around us. We use senses to collect information and with writing abilities we document data.
This deep observation helps us shape thinking and understanding of the competitive world. Besides, a critical thinker possesses all these skill sets. He/she analyzes every minute detail, documents it after which concludes. A critical thinker asks the right set of questions and interprets in the best possible way.
2. Be Well-informed
When bound to give fair justice, it is important to know the whole scenario. When you are well-informed, you prosper as a thinker and can dispose of complex problems.
Be it any subject content, an individual with critical thinking skills is well-informed. Rather, they are alert when it comes to applying solutions. Also, while looking for information, they stay focused and stick towards the aim. They are very attentive towards facts and apply best thinking practices.
But, there are times that a critical thinker might have his/her perception and point of view. And this might lead to a biased decision. But it’s best to focus on facts, test the situation and control emotions. Once you progress through an unbiased approach with absolute information. Then it becomes easy to make a sound decision.
3. Be Self-aware
A critical thinker is always aware of weaknesses and strengths. Introspection helps them to gain excellence and mindful command over complex issues.
While strengthening critical thinking skills, it is imperative to know your strengths. With this, one becomes aware of his/her thinking capability. Critical thinking involves the thinker in becoming aware of his/her attentiveness. It also helps in mapping the biases along with scrutinizing thoughts and feelings. Moreover, you become aware of whether you are capable to make a sound decision or not. Self-awareness helps you strike a balance between your mental state.
4. Be Communicative
Critical thinking and communication go hand-in-hand. Problems in communication arouse if an individual is incapable of critical thinking. The clearer your thinking, the clearer the communication would be!
Critical thinking entails effective communication. A study suggests that critical thinking and communication has a positive correlation. A critical thinker must be very precise in effective communication and problem-solving tactics. He/she must have a clear thought process to derive an unbiased solution.
With critical thinking, the individual follows the thought process. And communication helps in imparting the right decision. Also, with critical thinking, the individual implements non-verbal and non-violent communication too. And expresses ideas and opinions in an efficient way.
5. Be a Listener
It is unfair to give a decision, without considering the other side of the story. But in critical thinking, vague results hold no value. A critical thinker listens after which he/she talks and gives a decision.
Communication is furthermore complemented by good listening. A decision without listening to the other side holds no value. An individual with critical thinking will not limit to giving decisions alone. Rather, he/she listens to both sides after which makes the final decision. Critical thinker assures to listen to every point, instead of being an inactive listener.
6. Be Curious
Critical thinking is like a commitment to overcome problems. It also assures a possible solution by gathering information from relative sources. But before that, you must be curious and should have a nose for information.
Curiosity is a blessing as it strengthens academic performance. Once, curiosity shaped at a younger age, then it helps in creating successful leaders. Besides, with help from critical thinking, it becomes easier to study people around. When thinking complemented by curiosity, an individual will never analyze face value. Rather he/she will dig deeper and study every facet.
A curious person will always wonder about the things happening around. Curiosity with critical thinking kicks your thought process. It also offers an avenue to gain profound knowledge.
7. Be Creative Thinkers
Creative thinking helps in tackling the problem with unique viewpoints. And with the backing of critical thinking, analyzing viewpoints become easier and effective.
With critical thinking, creative thinking is also important. A study states that creative thinking has aspects of critical thinking, and critical thinking has aspects of creativity. Creative thinkers opt for problem-solving tactics that are out of the box. They practice various interests, viewpoints, and experiment with methods. Creative thinkers generate ideas and critical thinkers analyze those ideas. If creative thinking is introducing ideas, then critical thinking helps in creating a focus on those ideas. So, an efficient critical thinker can strike a balance between creativity and critical thinking.
5 Ways to Practice Critical Thinking Skills
Now, that you know the characteristics of critical thinkers. Let’s now explore the ways to practice these skill sets.
Raise questions as much as you can. Do not worry about what people think about you. These questions are the ones that will lead you to your goal. As you question deeper, you explore new ways and learn new things.
While making a decision, stop assuming things around you. Don’t be judgmental either! It is difficult to challenge your own decision. But consider other’s points of view and compare them with yours. And if you are not doing all this, then you are not undertaking critical thinking.
Whatever information you’re treated with, might not be true. If you are feeling challenged by a certain problem, then read books or Google to gain knowledge. More information you get, you’ll be more prepared to figure sensible answers for every query.
Divide The Problem
Some problems are too huge to solve in a brief period. So, break them down into small parts. Analyzing smaller parts helps to arrive at a solution.
While giving the final verdict, make sure to keep it simple. With this, you can practice rigorous standards of excellence. Don’t let your native egocentrism come in way of giving away solutions. So, stay put and showcase your results in the best possible way.
To strengthen your critical thinking skills, then remember 5 W’s and 1 H. Question yourself with these questions – Who, What, When, Where, Why and How!
Critical thinking might not sound easy. As it involves information that is new for us. But we hope that the above-mentioned tips will shape your critical thinking skills. Moreover, hoping that they help you to think by knowing the perfect traits of critical thinking.
Neelambari started her rollercoaster ride as a journalist at Pune Mirror (Times Group). After which she started exploring the world of content writing. Today, she boasts more than five years of experience filled with creativity and diversity. During this tenure, she explored various mediums like articles, blogs, social media posts, website content, and much more. And this content ranged from Gynecology, Ayurveda, Dental health to nutrition. However, she enjoys the most writing about Psychology and other medical streams. She loves writing and aims to bring positive changes at least in some lives with her articles on www.themindfool.com