When you think critically, you draw conclusions based on evidence and sound reason. While everyone is born with the ability to think, critical thinking takes practice, according to the Foundation for Critical Thinking. To get better at critical thinking, you must rectify the flaws that you may have in your own thinking skills and practice critical thinking regularly.
A critical thinker doesn’t take everything at face value. Evaluate and assess the things that you hear, read and see before you draw any conclusions. When you’re presented with news, information or a question, consider the possible solutions and implications of each. As you gather information, consider the sources and the motivations of each source.
Stay Focused and Relevant
Avoid focusing on issues that aren’t related to the question, problem or task at hand. At the same time, don’t be afraid to hold an opinion or view that others may consider different or radical. When you get off topic, you might start thinking about how your situation reminds you of things that happened in the past instead of focusing on logical solutions. As you explore solutions and alternatives, keep an open mind when you come across those with which you don’t agree. An April 2012 “Inc.” article shares that sometimes, seemingly maverick solutions are the ones that drive innovation.
Ask Clarifying Questions
Critical thinkers aren’t afraid to ask questions. When you have a better understanding of a situation, you can make a better decision that’s educated, logical and reasonable. If you have a complex problem, phrase your question in different ways to help you evaluate the answers that you receive. Asking clarifying questions helps you see the big picture, especially when a problem is too big to solve with a single answer. As you ask questions, use the answers that you receive to determine which information is relevant and to evaluate the implications of your conclusions.
Clear Roadblocks to Reasonable Thinking
To become a better critical thinker, you must have an open mind, let go of biases and dismiss preconceived assumptions and stereotypes. Furthermore, you can’t assume that you’re always right. As you seek information and ask questions, look for opportunities to change the way that you think, and practice patience when listening to others. The Foundation for Critical Thinkers states that a host of logical fallacies can cause barriers to critical thinking, including jumping to conclusions, failing to notice assumptions, thinking hypocritically, blaming others and dismissing those who are different.
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