I’m facilitating a session on critical thinking for a client in a few weeks and I decided it was time to update my content. Wow, there is a lot of information available about critical thinking. The challenge is how to analyze and evaluate the information to determine its relevance and accuracy. Hey, that is what critical thinking is all about!
WHAT is critical thinking?
- “It is a mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it.”
- “It is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way.”
WHY critical thinking?
Our brains have no problem thinking. But, here is the challenge…
Left to its own devices, our brain is subject to “biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudice.” It loves to categorize things and makes assumptions based on just one experience which than we believe is factual. For example, my supervisor criticizes my work and so now I know she doesn’t like me. Just based on that one interaction, your brain concludes, in spite of contrary evidence, that she hates you and you buy into it.
COST of shoddy thinking?
Let me count the ways. Besides money and quality of life, work and personal relationships, great ideas, problems unsolved, innovation, leadership, etc. The list goes on and on.
HOW to be a critical thinker?
The first basic technique is asking questions, provoking and provocative questions, for any topic, problem, issue, or challenge that you’re faced with at work: Who, what, where, how, and why. And don’t be shy or afraid to ask questions. If anything, asking questions should be encouraged in our workplaces because useful answers will only come about by asking good questions.
For a basic and informative overview of what is critical thinking and how to learn critically, I invite you to watch this short clip below. Get going and start being a critical thinker.