This Is Why You Should Learn How to Think Critically

This Is Why You Should Learn How to Think Critically

The ability to analyze arguments, evaluate evidence, and distinguish between fact and opinion is a valuable skill that most people term critical thinking. In this article, I will be tutoring you on learning how to think critically. Stay with me.

What Does Critical Thinking Mean?

A simple definition is that critical thinking is the analysis of factual evidence to form a judgment. However, a closer inspection of the term and its meaning shows there are other meanings. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy defines critical thinking as the core concepts of the process of ‘careful goal-directed thinking’. Another university’s definition is that ‘good critical thinking includes recognizing good arguments even when we disagree with them, and poor arguments even when these support our point of view’.

In my opinion, I can say that critical thinking is the art and act of analyzing, interpreting, inference, explaining, self-regulating, open-mindedness, and problem-solving skills one acquires to tackle a situation.

There are some benefits of critical thinking and some of them include:

  • Question assumptions
  • Make better decisions
  • Exercise curiosity
  • Create compelling arguments
  • Reflect on yourself and your life

There are other benefits of critical thinking and some of them include increasing memory and retention capabilities, open-mindedness, emotional control, handling criticism especially criticisms at the workplace, schools, home amongst others. Critical thinking has a million sides to it and there are lots of benefits to learning how to think critically.

How to Think Critically

1. Identify the Issue

When faced with a situation or problem, determine what has caused it.

2. Analyze the Arguments

There will usually be several sides to an argument, so it’s important to understand who is saying what and how valid each position is.

3. Discover the Facts

It’s essential to separate the facts from the opinions and assess how accurately the evidence is presented.

4. Challenge Your Biases

Ask yourself whether or not you’re making assumptions, why you believe a certain point, and whether you’re letting confirmation bias, heuristics, framing, or common fallacies impact your thinking.

5. Decide on Significance

Each side of an argument will likely have supporting evidence. Deciding which information is most important, deductive, valid, and has a sound premise will help decide the significance of each.

6. Draw Conclusions

The various steps above will lead and help you to decide which option or argument (if any) is the most relevant. You can also weigh up the strengths and weaknesses of all options.

Honestly, learning how to think critically is very essential in our daily lives and there are a million and one ways to think critically.

After you must have reached this column and understood what critical thinking entails, your question then shifts from ‘what does critical thinking mean?’ to ‘how do I improve critical thinking skills?’

How to Improve Critical Thinking Skills

There are several ways that you can achieve the benefits of critical thinking, including:

1. Use Scrutiny and Skepticism

Requires little effort to accept things at face value and believe what you’re being told.

2. Eliminate the Less Useful and Unreliable Information

Can be difficult to make effective decisions or draw informed conclusions when you’re surrounded by inaccurate information.

3. Use Reliable Sources

When you’re researching a topic to make an informed decision, always pay attention to the source. Look at evidence-based information from reliable outlets and be careful of how statistics are presented to you.

4. Listen Actively

Active Listening is a technique that ensures the listener concentrates, understands, responds to, and remembers what’s being said. It’s also about observing behaviour and body language.

5. Develop More Empathy

Being able to put yourself in the shoes of another person allows you to understand their point of view, motivations, and aspirations.

Most people fail to realize that critical thinking has its root ineffective communication. Communicating well helps one to look at not only the speech of an individual but also the body language and tone of that individual to know your next words. Critical thinking uses communication as a skill to make better decisions.

Final thoughts…

As I said earlier, critical thinking as a skill is a valuable skill that can help us make better decisions and judgments. It helps us as individuals make life-changing decisions and also see through things that aren’t real.

Critical thinking should not be seen as a concept, but as a skill to acquire, it’s very relevant in our lives and should be treated as such.