Think critically with these 3 tips
A smart person can be wrong.
It sounds hard to believe, but this idea is held by business leaders like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Being able to look at how they can revise and improve their ideas or thought process is not only a sign of intelligence, it has also helped them grow at a different rate from an average person. This skill is known as critical thinking.
We’ve written about how parents can promote critical thinking in children, but how about training our own critical thinking abilities? Here are three tips:
Take your time
Thinking critically requires a lot of mental energy and patience. When it comes to making important decisions or judgements, we are susceptible to our own temporary emotions that can affect the way we perceive things. A way to ensure that emotions are not clouding your judgement is to process them before tackling the issue. Putting aside time to look at problems that you are facing gives you an opportunity to analyse it fully as well. You may be forced to revisit your ideas several times before coming to a satisfactory conclusion, and that is actually a good habit to keep.
Look at the issue through different lenses. One common advice is to consider how your decisions and actions can affect you in one year or five years. You should also look into the information that you have, are they really facts or are they just assumptions? Are there any other underlying problems or issues that are not being addressed? Is there another perspective to this issue? A solution that you came up with might be a good one, but if it is for a problem that affects more than yourself, a different approach may be necessary to prevent it from happening in the future.
Listen to your critics
Negative feedback can be unwarranted at times, but it has its values. When you receive criticism, you sometimes feel annoyed or defensive, refusing to take what they say into account. However, once your emotions settle down, you should look into the comments you receive and ask yourself if there is anything you can learn from it. There could be some truth or validity behind the person’s criticism, and if there isn’t any you can find, you should try to view it from their perspective. What led them to have that opinion? Is your work being misunderstood?
By training your mind to think critically, you’ll soon be able to evaluate your thoughts and approach issues from different angles, giving yourself the opportunity to make better decisions.
Learning and practicing critical thinking need not be something that you only do when you’re older. Kids get to pick up this skill as well through StarWorks! This holiday programme is suitable for children ages 9 to 13 and builds a strong foundation of skills not taught in the classroom. Students get to discuss current affairs, read news articles and present their ideas through speaking and writing. Register today for an early bird discount! (Discount ends on 1 November 2020)