Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas. It can also be described as the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Critical thinkers will identify, analyse and solve problems systematically rather than by intuition or instinct.
No matter what walk of life you come from, what industry you are currently in or how much experience you have already garnered, we know the importance of critical thinking skills. In fact, lacking such skills can truly make or break a person’s career, as the consequences of one’s inability to process and analyse information effectively can be massive.
With that in mind, you must be wondering what you can do to make sure you are equipped with the power of critical thinking skills. Developing your critical thinking skills is something that takes concentrated work. It can be best to begin by exploring the definition of critical thinking and the skills it includes—once you do, you can then venture toward the crucial question at hand: How can I improve?
Let us look at how you can develop critical thinking skills to improve your decision-making skills to be insightful and effective.
Be a self-critic
The very first and most important step for developing critical thinking skills is becoming a critic of your own thoughts and actions. It is important for everyone to do self-reflection in order to improve themselves and to grow. You can question yourself on why you believe something. This will help you to clarify your thoughts by assessing the information objectively and finding a solid logic to what you believe, rather than just a muddled idea. When we do self-reflection, we can observe how we deal and response to situations. Acknowledging your strengths, weaknesses, personal preferences and biases can also be another aspect of becoming self-critic.
We understand that it is a challenge to listen and think at the same time. To be a critical thinker, you need to listen to others’ ideas, arguments and criticisms without thinking of your own response or reaction while they are speaking. You need to listen attentively so that you can absorb the information that the other party is trying to convey to you. When we hear others’ side of story, we can then take the information and analyse it.
Analysing information is the most important aspect of critical thinking. We may always not be able to think critically. To reach success, we need to analyse the information before us, whether it is information in our mind or being shared by others. We can break it down by assessing what is being said and ensuring that we clearly understand what it is that needs to happen. Then we can dissect and appraise all arguments, including our own, and think about how the decisions would impact others, as well as the bottom line. When we can step back and analyse an argument, it allows us to approach it from an objective viewpoint.
Nonviolent Communication is often called “compassionate communication” that helps you create the high quality of connection out of which people naturally enjoy contributing to one another’s well-being. When listening and analysing different arguments, you first need the ability to recognize valid logic. Then you need to be able to communicate with other people in a productive way. The basis of nonviolent communication is compassion, observation and collaboration. When we approach any scenario with compassion, we are already in a peaceful mindset, rather than a defensive one.
Foresight is the ability to predict the future impact of a decision. It is also one of the most important aspect for success. Every decision should be weighed carefully, with consideration of how the choice affects your bottom line, but also for the people who are working toward success alongside you.
Don’t you want to be a critical thinker to improve your life? With critical thinking skills, you will be able to think smartly, even on difficult situations. That is also the skills that everyone should learn, no matter which industry or job you are in. We welcome you to join us to transform your life on this learning journey.