Dr. Gil Dekel.
What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase ‘critical thinking’? You may think of people who doubt everything? People that can’t stop asking arrogant questions which makes them very uncomfortable to be around? Now, put your preconceptions on hold for a second and see why critical thinking is something entirely different. Read on to get some ideas on how you can benefit from developing this skill.
Just imagine the following situation: You are living on the countryside in a small village with only one grocery store which is five miles away from your home. You and your neighbour agree on going there in the afternoon. You are happy about it because you don’t have a car, and you are about to run out of food. You are waiting for your friend to pick you up, but he doesn’t show up. You keep calling him and knocking on the door, but nothing. This is a truly frustrating. First of all, you might worry about what’s happened to him. Second, you are getting more and more hungry. But what’s really the worst thing about this? Can you guess?
It’s that you depend on something or somebody. As long as you depend on something, in general, you cannot be free. And this is also true when it comes to the intellect, one of the most important element of being a human. So what if I’d tell you that critical thinking can set you free, by freeing your mind?
It does! But how? Let’s first summarise the benefits briefly – just in a few bullet points:
By improving your critical thinking…
- You will get methods to solve a multitude of unfamiliar problems by thinking and assessing information
- You will be able to identify false statements – less chances to be mislead
- You will learn to suspend biases that are based on your culture and upbringing. (Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like these factors are obstacles on your way?)
- Your perspective will be broadened by gaining more knowledge and, at the same time, by being able to evaluate it
- You will be more sceptical – in a good way. You will be much more open-minded
- Your horizon will expand. You will see life in a more detailed, colourful way – not just black and white
- You will be able to handle uncertainty better. It is very hard for people to get to this point so you will be proud of yourself!
It all sounds really good, doesn’t it? The question is: how can you improve your critical thinking? Well, just like anything valuable in life, it has a price…
- First, you have to be prepared to let go of your biases
- Second, you have to really want to improve your intellectual skills and persist in collecting information and methods
- And third, you have to face situations where it will be challenging choosing between sticking with your beliefs and accepting other truths.
But look at the list of benefits above. Would gaining these skills make you feel you’re the person you’ve always wanted to be?
You Never Thought What The Real Value of Critical Thinking Is by Dr. Gil Dekel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.poeticmind.co.uk/research/you-never-thought-what-the-real-value-of-critical-thinking-is/.
23 March 2017. My thanks to colleagues who helped with this article. For further advice, watch this video which inspired this post.
Photo ‘Think Sign’ by Unsplash / Jose Moreno. Edited by Gil Dekel. Used here with permission.