What is Critical Thinking?
It is not about how many books someone has read or how much knowledge they have stored away at the back of their head; Critical Thinking means thinking clearly. It is about taking a given situation in hand and being able to think critically. Emotions often make people make decisions that they come to regret later, be it in a professional workspace or even in personal life. Critical Thinking is about making a rational decision and being able to think logically about the given situation.
It is not just questioning what, but also how, why, where, when and by whom.
Why is it Important?
We live in a world surrounded by fake news and false tips. The world is constantly changing, and the information given in textbooks are quickly being outdated. Critical Thinking emphasizes active learning, questioning ideas and being open to new ideas that do not sit well with the already constructed safe notions.
In any sector of work, Critical Thinking is important. People are not looking for mindless robots they can hire to complete their work- in fact, even robots can think rationally now. Companies and employees are on a constant lookout for bright minds and new ideas. They are looking for people who can read between the lines, think for themselves and come to a decision using cognitive skills.
How to Develop the skills
Unless one is curious about their surroundings, nothing can be questioned. It is very simple to sit back and take what is given to us. Everybody does that. To critically think anything, the first and the most important question asked is- “Why?” Though often it is thought that a child is born with the quality of being curious, such is not the case. It is about making the conscious choice of sitting up, looking at the situation and pushing oneself to ask why something is happening. It might take time but by this small method, anybody can start looking at the world in a new light. Just ask, “Why?”
Along with an open mind, a set of open eyes and ears will take everyone a long way. Observing the surroundings often produce answers that would have otherwise remained obscured in plain view. There are various techniques to develop observational skills, like journaling or writing down all that one sees or actively listening to the chatter around. Once someone begins to pick up on all this information, questions will automatically start popping up.
Everyone no matter how educated has a set of biases. Prejudices people have been brought up, things that have forced someone to be cautious and just make a choice. To critically think, one does not have to let go of these biases though that is the hopeful ultimate goal. At the moment, it is about accepting biases that one might have. One can be extremely prejudiced against another community of workers or such. We need to be aware of this bias, and then move to ask questions like “Is the bias affecting my ability to think?” “Who does this bias actually benefit?”
One cannot start to think about a situation unless one has actually identified the situation. Whenever faced with a new challenge, a question or perhaps a new variant of the same old problem, keep an open mind. Question the people who are behind what is happening, why is it happening and how it will impact everyone
To be able to think critically, one needs to know what is happening. Think of the context of the information or the source. This will not be served to anyone on a silver platter and one has to make an active effort in order to understand the context. Without the background information and just face value of things, anybody can easily mislead. Once again, it comes back to questioning everything.
Any sort of thinking will fall short if the individual does not have information. There’s a reason successful people urge students to constantly keep reading books. They are a source of information and keep the mind engaged. Today’s world presents everyone with even more learning opportunities like audio books, educational videos and so much more. Being up to date with the current happening in not only your field of work but also the current events can help you make a more informed decision.
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Written By:- Amber Keshari, Shubhr Aakriti
Edited By:- Ashutosh Dhar Dwivedi, Zeya Ullah Saif