The definition of critical thinking is to deliberately analyse information. By making it an intent we can make better decisions and have a better judgement of a situation.
We need to take time to step back and analyse a situation be the Judge and the Jury. By asking the right questions we need to evaluate arguments and evidence. Ironically we need to be open minded and not critical, to be open to being creative, reflective and adaptable.
Critical thinking in essence is about filtering and discovering. We must have a clear mind and not be influenced by a higher order of thinking.
Think about situations that require you to apply critical thinking:-
- Interview preparation
- Buying a house
- Choosing a school/college or University
- Time management
We have to be rigorous in our wish to apply critical thinking we have start with looking at scepticism (why are we doubting the truth) and we have to take a more neutral stance and be objective “fresh eyes”.
The starting point is “What do I know?” and “How do I know this?” this can dispel any deep routed opinions of others or even yourself.
In 1968 Dick Fosbury won the gold medal for the high jump in the Olympics, it is one of the best examples of critical thinking. Up until 1968 high jumpers believed that you had to land on your feet. Fosbury decided to ask the question “How else could I get over the bar?”. By throwing himself head first over the bar he lowered his centre of gravity and reduced his chances of hitting the bar. We are now all familiar with the Fosbury Flop but it all started by applying critical thinking.
Tom Chatfield wrote a book on Critical Thinking and created the 10 commandments of how to do it:-
- Slow down – take time to understand what you know already
- Conserve mental energy – stay focused (don’t have anything else on the go at the time)
- If in doubt wait – only get back to some-one until you are sure
- Know your limits – don’t pretend to know what you don’t know (read more and find out more)
- Beware of costs – don’t hold on to an idea, just because you have invested time and money
- Be strategic – judge the strategy not just short term results
- Look to long term – you might have a success then fail however the right way is the mean
- Seek out diverse opinion – re-examine
- Look beyond a frame of reference
- Is their a choice outside the frame
Critical thinking is about a better way of looking at the world. Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to deliver a workshop firstname.lastname@example.org