It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.— Aristotle
Critical thinking has become an increasingly important skill. Yes, critical thinking can create lively debates – those on the outside might deem them ‘arguments’ – but being informed enough to engage in a well-considered discussion is a vital part of modern society.
Critical thinking is:
• A Vital Skill In The Emerging Knowledge Economy
First a scientific tool, computers have evolved into incredibly useful devices for general population and workforce. Now computing devices can perform in just a matter of minutes what used to take days. What rose from this development is the global knowledge economy, which places a priority on flexible intellectual skills.
Applications and programs have revolutionized how businesses and organizations are doing their tasks, creating a steady stream of data. This fast-paced influx of information demands critical thinking, and relying on just one source for information is not enough. More than ever, fact checking is important.
• Essential for Self-Reflection
Doubt is powerful. It can cause even the most confident person to crumble. But it can also have the opposite effect: It can become the foundation of self-evaluation. Easier access to information makes it easier to reconsider one’s longstanding beliefs, and even if you never change those beliefs, they are stronger for your having reflected on them thoroughly.
• Important to Systematically Solve Problems
Problem-solving makes use of a rational and systematic kind of thinking to find solutions. Critical thinking hones this skill. From recognizing the actual problem to the analysis to the inference, critical thinking is vital to the different parts of the entire process.
So how do you know if you can think critically?
According to the Critical Thinking Company, the stages of becoming a more critical thinker are:
Stage One: The Unreflective Thinker (we are unaware of significant problems in our thinking)
Stage Two: The Challenged Thinker (we become aware of problems in our thinking)
Stage Three: The Beginning Thinker (we try to improve but without regular practice)
Stage Four: The Practicing Thinker (we recognize the necessity of regular practice)
Stage Five: The Advanced Thinker (we advance in accordance with our practice)
Stage Six: The Master Thinker (skilled & insightful thinking become second nature to us)
Naturally, if you’re in Stage One, it’s going to be difficult to get to Stage Two since you don’t think anything is wrong. Here’s a hint: If people get frustrated with you – not your argument, but with you – then you might be in Stage One.
How have you used critical thinking to make decisions?