A World Economic Forum report once shared that Critical Thinking is one of the most sought-after career skills employers look for when trying to attract and retain the best talents. Employers also believe critical thinking skills will become even more essential in the coming years.
Defining Critical Thinking
Edward Glaeser, a renowned American economist, defines Critical Thinking as “the ability to think critically, as conceived in this volume, involves three things:
- An attitude of being disposed to consider in a thoughtful way the problems and subjects that come within the range of one’s experiences
- Knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning
- Some skill in applying those methods.”
Simply put, Critical Thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating data for a practical approach to understanding the data, then determining what to believe and how to act. This means being capable of coming up with reasoned judgments that are logical and well-thought-out. Being a critical thinker is having an attitude of questioning arguments and conclusions before accepting them.
Why Critical Thinking is critical
Whether you are a leader in an organization or an entrepreneur, having critical thinking skills guarantee objective and problem-solving, which ultimately can reduce costly errors and business failure. It’s essential for your business’s success.
When you think critically, you can also increase employee engagement because you will be people’s go-to person, and you can train your workforce to think critically as well. And when teams employ critical thinking, they gain enhanced analytical competency, communication, emotional intelligence, and problem-solving skills.
With this, here are some simple tips which can help you develop and improve your Critical Thinking Skills:
Clear your mind.
Because of the digital age, we have been so used to being bombarded with information daily. However, effective critical thinking requires you to have a clear mind. You should be able to turn down the noise and overstimulation to focus on your purpose and context.
Once you have cleared your head, you will be able to define exactly what you want. This is the perfect time to ask yourself: what do you want to achieve? Given the situation, what do I expect to get out of this?
Often, we think from our own perspective when dealing with problems. Try to think from someone else’s point of view to deal with your biases and see things in a different light.
Also, thinking from a different POV gives you a clearer situation of the overall situation. You can try thinking about how your leader, mentor, or trusted colleague might approach it. By allowing yourself to consider different perspectives, you might see solutions you initially have not considered.
Consider the consequences of each option.
Every option will bear consequences for you or others involved in the problem. Make sure to weigh up the possible consequences that may arise from each of your options. What will be the most beneficial for everyone? What will be the negative effects on the people involved?
An excellent way to consider the consequences of each option is to write a list of pros and cons. For the method to work, you must list all the positives and negatives as honestly as possible and without favoring one choice discreetly. Through this method, you’ll know your opportunities, risks, and consequences, and you can make a more informed decision.
Do your research.
As the cliché goes, knowledge is power. Do not fall into the pit of relying on what you already know and staying reluctant to let go of your own beliefs. Widen your horizon by researching and learning new ways to approach a situation.
Critical thinking sometimes requires you to let go of your beliefs, which is part of staying objective. Not being open-minded will limit you and won’t help with improving your critical thinking. By taking time to do your research and focus on continuous learning, you will evolve and be able to adapt to overcome new situations.
Of course, ensure that your research and sources of information are reliable. Note that research is not limited to typing in Google or reading books. You may also gather information by asking leaders who have experienced the same problem as yours or studying other best practices of other organizations.
Analyze failures and mistakes.
Accept that you are not always right and be okay with it. We all make mistakes, but make sure to learn from them.
Recall any mistake or failure and analyze what went wrong and what you could have done to improve it. Use your judgment to decide how to avoid the same mistake the next time. Also, always double-check solutions to problems, consider new options, and view mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow.
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