Why Critical Thinking Is Important? Because we live in an era of technology where we frequently consume data and read a lot of misinformation. We also tend to pass the information very quickly without even realizing or checking the authenticity of the data that is in front of us. The criteria of critical thinking deal with the prime aspects of arguments and analyzing the data in any situation before taking any related decision.
The prime technique to let the masses go numb and change their cognitive behaviour before taking any important decisions is to bombard them with data, which is the same thing that is done on various social media platforms. After the further development of artificial intelligence, by promising the delivery of enhanced and filtered data on our screens, the social media giants record our previous data and bombard us with more and more information about the topic of interest.
The more we evolve in such an environment the more we will lack patience and so critical thinking is an important skill that must be learned if we want to control the things that happen to us without realizing the cause.
1. Critical Thinking Skills
The term critical thinking comes from a Greek word that means “able to judge”. The term critical thinking is most frequently used nowadays for evaluating and analyzing things that we have read or heard based on facts and our state of mind.
Critical thinking skills are not present from birth, they are supposed to be learned in the time in which we grow. It is a merger of actively and skillfully thinking and applying the analyzed information from a source, such as observation and experience with proper communication, and then taking action.
It requires improvement in your questioning skills, analytical skills, evaluation skills, and synthesizing skills.
1. Questioning skills are developed by gaining knowledge from authentic sources such as journals and research papers and preparing the pros and cons accordingly. These skills are slowly developed by gaining experience.
2. Analytical skills contain the basic structure of connecting the dots between ideas and coming to a conclusion. This skill is pretty tough to acquire and sometimes requires the skill of thinking outside the box.
3. The evaluation skill is the most important of all of them as it provides the space where all the data and viewpoints are evaluated to point out the strengths and weaknesses of any argument that is supposed to be made. This needs patience and with practice, only the skill is developed to a level where we can stand for our arguments based on facts.
4. The synthesis skill deals with looking at the bigger picture and formulating arguments and judgements. This skill is particularly hard to acquire because, even if we tend to do well in other areas, drawing a conclusion from them and looking at the bigger picture is not easy.
2. Critical Thinkers:
There are some typical key skills that critical thinkers bear with them:
The world is changing at a pace which we could never have imagined, and being curious is the only thing that leads to a mindset that initiates adaptability more quickly than anyone else. This skill can be developed in any person and manifested in a way that can bring us immense success.
The observation of a given situation allows us to establish the positives and negatives and allows us to develop a strategy that can be beneficial for argument and judgement. You don’t have to be an excellent observer from the start, but somehow this skill is also related to being curious, which you can always be by observing the environment you live in and slowly escalating the levels.
Introspection is the art of awareness of the environment and your thoughts in it. This is a main segment of developing good Critical thinking skills as it enables reflective thinking. Sometimes creative thinkers get a brilliant idea, but just they are not aware of what it is about it gains them nothing, so it is important to introspect oneself. This skill helps to solve problems and be aware of what are we up to.
Iteration is the skill of repeatedly doing a particular task to develop a pattern so that, in the end, it will require no extra effort to do the task. The athletes do it to remember various moves so that while playing the game, the reaction naturally comes as a reflex. This skill requires patience and doing something again and again, which is a very boring thing, so it is hard to gain, but once gained, it gives immense benefits to critical thinking skills.
Everyday problems that involve a heated discussion with someone or any challenging situations that require a calm mind and the ability to think critically require the skill of humility, because this is the only skill that enables us to evaluate our flaws and see the positive in other people’s criticism. This skill is particularly hard to attain, as no one in the world wants to hear bad things about themselves, which makes them rigid and leaves no space for transformation.
2.6. Effective Communication:
This problem-solving skill can sometimes be a boon as it allows becoming a good listener at first and then speaking precisely with facts that save time and ultimately lead to the closure of a fair deal. Everyone wants to listen first, so this skill is not everyone’s cup of tea. But can be attained with practice, as the more you get involved in listening the more you will realize that speaking less and precisely is more effective if you want your words to be taken seriously.
2.7. Creative Thinking:
Critical thinking helps us to understand the deeper meaning of any given situation and arms us with facts to find a way out, but creative thinking is the tool that enables us to make a decision and close the situation by having more benefits. There may arise situations where the problem may seem impossible to be solved in such scenarios thinking outside the box is the best asset that you can ever have.
2.8. Inference –
The data which comes raw sometimes doesn’t follow any pattern and hence drawing out conclusions from it is hard. Good critical thinking skills help in centralising the scattered data and drawing our points for argumentative purposes, which helps in judgement.
Compassion and welfare are important for critical thinkers in the context of a meaningful life. The curiosity that critical thinkers have and the kind of deep work that they go through sometimes put them in a state where they can’t judge the welfare and well-being of the two sides. So, they should keep working without compromising the quality but still leave some space for having their viewpoint and take careful consideration of the worker’s welfare as well.
2.10. Open to Criticism and New Ideas:
There are chances that after putting all the hard work into the work, someone else may appear with an idea that is better than what you have factually.
Keeping in consideration of objective logic and keeping aside our own opinions, critical thinkers should be open to accepting their inefficiency and working to improve it, and at the same time accepting the excellence that others have to offer and learning from it.
3. A Critical Thinker
Critical thinking skills have a strong connection with emotional intelligence. An emotionally intelligent being tends to have higher critical thinking skills. This enables him to efficiently solve problems.
The world has already shifted to a state where multitasking is not just another skill to acquire but one of the basic requirements that everyone must possess. After being burdened with such loads of work, anyone can easily lose the grip on his work which will ultimately lead to hindering the quality of the work.
How critical thinking skills can help improve the quality of work in such scenarios remains a matter of debate. Thinking critically became an effective method in the domain of general thinking skills for taking actions in the right direction that ultimately leads to career success.
Another area that also needs improvement is research skills. In the era of information, it has become really easy for anyone to get misinformation without any sound evidence, which leads to the development of a strategy that doesn’t help solve problems but rather complicates them more.
Mastering all these crucial skills and becoming a person who is constantly working on improving critical thinking skills is the ultimate goal of anyone who has chosen this path. The basic criteria of being a good critical thinker are learning constantly and deliberately, when you start learning, you will realize that there is more and more to it: more learning, more developing critical thinking skills, more precisely doing things, and so on.
4. Why Critical Thinking Is Important?
Consider any profession; let’s say a lawyer. A lawyer has to go through the details of every case scanning every point concerning the arguments that he has to prepare for, in such a manner that the judgement comes in his favour.
Doctor, without accessing the history, current symptoms, previous medication, and proper diagnosis, who prescribes medicine has a high chance of making the patient’s condition worse, which may sometimes lead to death. There are numerous patients which a doctor has to go through in a day, he may make errors if he doesn’t have critical thinking skills.
One of the most stressful jobs present out there is air traffic controller because just one mistake can lead to a plane crash and hence the loss of many lives within seconds. Critical thinking is important in such hectic jobs.
For a student, critical thinking skills should become a part of their lives, as at this stage, if the roots of such comprehensive skills are formed, then there will be nothing that can stop the success of many career paths. Students learn to think outside the box, and that thinking is reflected in the assignments and academic progress reports that they have. This helps in the development of their soft skills and boast confidence.
The problem-solving attitude that these skills impose on the students helps them to understand any situation in a better way; making inquiries is part of understanding the problem and is also essential for helping them to make their own decisions.
The ability and thought process of the student can be influenced at any point in time; to prevent this from happening, they need to build a habit of keeping learning, learning to listen actively, examining the situation from different perspectives, identifying the topics objectively, and having a healthy discussion with their classmates.
In conclusion, at the school level, when the idea of critical thinking skills is placed in students’ minds, it remains with them for a very long time, and in every profession ranging from being a mechanic to being an astronaut, these skills are required for personal development. The idea of being well-informed about the situation enables anyone to think from a different perspective and come up with out-of-the-box solutions, which leads to career success.
5. Benefits of Critical Thinking
5.1. Career Success:
There are various careers where critical thinking plays an important role. Jobs ranging from those of a businessman to those of a fisherman require critical thinking that helps people have success in their careers. The World Economic Forum stated that critical thinking is among the most relevant skills to possess in the workforce.
Overall career success starts by gaining small wins in the assigned task. When you do the assigned task effectively and with a quality that was not even expected from you, it sends a message to others about your capabilities, and slowly, when you keep on having repetitive wins, you are on the right track that ultimately leads to career success no matter what field you are in.
5.2. Overcoming Cognitive Biases –
There are many types of cognitive biases and basically, it means how people perceive the given information based on their understanding and past experiences.
Various types of cognitive biases include overconfidence, self-serving bias, herd mentality, framing bias, narrative fallacy, anchoring bias, hindsight cognitive bias, availability bias, choice-supportive bias, the halo effect, proximity effect, and so on.
These biases hinder the ability to think rationally in any given situation and hence compromising the quality of work. Critical thinking is an important part of the thinking process that helps in tackling the various types of bias.
5.3. It Creates Independence –
Self-reflection is one of the attributes of critical thinking, which helps create independence. The idea of gathering and analyzing information before taking any decision that ultimately leads to informed decisions is an effective habit that helps in lowering dependency and, at times of crisis, helps in taking decisions calmly without getting worried about unnecessary panics.
5.4. Effective Communicator –
The person who has learned all the facts is always armed in any situation to give precise answers and make others realize the positions of strength and weakness in any argument. This boasts self-confidence and helps in effectively communicating the same thing that was in mind, excluding unnecessary drama.
When you know the facts deeply, there is another subconscious reaction of remaining calm and actively listening to others when they make their arguments, which is also a sign of an effective communicator.
5.5. Problem-solving and Creative Thinking Skills –
Iterating multiple times, the pattern of deep analysis and then judgement leads to a mindset that thinks in a clear direction towards solving a problem. By following the same path multiple times to solve a problem, we create a subconscious pattern that helps save energy by not having to think again and again about what to do when any situation arises. The energy that remains is then effectively used in solving the problem rather than thinking about the multiple outcomes of the decision that you make.
The other aspect of this pattern is the ability to think creatively. The ways we analyze data and store it in the mind help us connect the dots and sometimes merge different ideas to solve a problem in a creative way that cannot be thought of by others.
If the odds are out, the only weapons that can save any leader are creative thinking skills and problem-solving skills that can be developed over time with patience and observation. This can make even the average person play in the major leagues effectively.
6.6. A Happier Life
The least debated topic is that critical thinking skills help us live happier lives. Let’s see the mechanics of the statement: the more you learn and get experience, the more you can handle any situation without giving much stress to yourself, which ultimately leads to a comparatively stress-free life. The other side of this practice is that having deeper knowledge and good observation skills sometimes leads to solving problems before they even appear. This leads to tackling a lot more stuff than the average man can do. The self-confidence that you get when you have a handle on your situation gives you an excellent presence in society.
The small segments of self-confidence, problem-solving, moving forward quickly, and learning by oneself without any dependence integrate themselves to form a happy life, which is not common nowadays.
Critical thinking skills were a small part of the growing culture, but as we have grown up and the technology around us has shaped us, we have lowered our patience and cognitive thinking abilities. The need of the hour is critical thinking skills and the ability to perceive things in a certain pattern.
Instilling these skills in students through their school education is a brilliant idea, but it also needs care and attention when applied. The students, when exposed to these skills, can develop into the kind of person that society most needs. In school, by using and learning these skills, the students become effective communicators from the start and in the future can make and maintain high-quality peers.
Thinking through different perspectives helps the students to come out with out-of-the-box solutions. The effective problem-solving techniques and behaviours that the students learn from these skills help them to always reach the roots before they make any judgement.
There are various fields in which critical thinking skills play a major and important role in career success. From a doctor who takes on multiple patients and still needs to show accuracy with the diagnosis and treatment to a mathematician who needs to think deeply while solving any problem because once a mistake is made unnoticed, it can have disastrous effects on the final results, and the only way to clear the result is to restart the equation.
The way critical thinking skills can shape us to become something that has infinite possibilities and infinite potential, career success is just the tip of the iceberg. These skills can make us better people and turn our society into a better one that is less judgmental and gives a hand to whoever needs it.
Critical thinking skills can be developed over some time and have nothing to do with inheritance or God’s gift. Many small skills need to be developed from critical skills, such as analytical skills. evaluation skills, summarizing skills, and so on. Other skills that are needed to be taken care of are open-mindedness, coordination, deep learning and so on.
The benefits of critical thinking skills are more than expected, but the most beneficial outcome is a happier life. A happy life gives you enough space to think less of yourself and more of the welfare of others. This leads to an increase in your prestige in society and an overall society that is much more acceptable and open than it is today.