Critical thinking is important in today’s competitive world to stay ahead of time and ensure we are well-equipped to face the future confidently. Lack of critical thinking happens from being ignorant, overconfident, or a flawed belief system. Thankfully, critical thinking is a learned art, and it helps you process information logically to come to an actionable conclusion based on evidence rather than personal belief or biased views. In this article, we would discuss three of the most important steps to learning how to think critically.
Relying on assumptions is one of the common mistakes people do that keeps them from thinking critically about the problems they’re facing. When you start a business, and it continues to grow, you assume it would be like that always. Why? How can you be sure about business growth? How can you know customers would keep coming back to you and not go to your competitors?
You might also think about alternative scenarios like what if your client went out of business or a new competitor opened a bigger shop right across from yours. It may or may not happen, but it would definitely hone your thinking skills and ensure that you don’t get too complacent and remain on edge. It is essential to think one step ahead.
When you rely on assumptions, reasoning through logic becomes a habit. Logical reasoning is based on evidence, and it is a key component to reaching sound conclusions. To think critically, it is important to create a chain of thoughts that is backed by evidence at every point.
You cannot just assume that your client canceled the contract because you delivered the services late. Maybe your staffs weren’t responsive or respectful? Maybe the product or services weren’t as good as they used to? When you question assumptions, you start thinking logically. When you start thinking logically, you look for evidence and get to the root cause of the problem to find a solution. In the absence of evidence, you test the assumptions to be sure.
One of the key qualities of mastering the art of critical thinking is to be aware of your biases and prejudices. It can often come in the way of your objective decision-making process. When you’re responsible for making quick or big decisions often, it is important to be aware of your personal prejudices. It is to ensure it doesn’t influence you and allows critical thinking to happen objectively.
It is important that you step out of your comfort zone or personal bubble often to welcome thoughts, ideas, and perceptions, which you don’t necessarily agree with or are acquainted with. If you are a software developer in a company, make friends with people in the human resource or marketing department.
If you are a Republican, engage in political talks with Democrats as well. If you go out to parties only with colleagues of your level, plan to go on a ball game or a dinner with your junior colleagues. Such habits help you diversify your thoughts and stop you from becoming too polarized towards one set of thinking only. It makes you more insightful, which is pivotal to critical thinking.
Just learning the tricks won’t help you master the trade. These are the practices you need to convert into habits to not only become a critical thinker but to transform your personality and approach in life positively.