Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking takes you on a journey into an intellectual adventure; by using a series of approaches you can work your way to a better tomorrow.
We will offer you suggestions that you can use to develop your critical thinking skills. Some of the deepest thinkers have used two of the habit-changing techniques in building critical thinking skills to improve their life. One of those practices included some simple words.
When you are unsure of how you feel, state: "I don't know how I feel, I am not sure yet." Most people don't like to hear these simple words, but the fact is when they learn to use the statements you will find that it works.
Throughout our history, we have gone through life struggling because of the criticism from others who challenge us to change our minds. Over the centuries, society has honored quick replies and the quotable sound bites. Common people put us to the test, trying to force us to answer their questions within 15 seconds. The fact is, they are violating our human rights. As humans, we all have the right to take as much time as we need to reply to someone's questions.
In this demanding society, it is unusual to pause while trying to answer someone's questions. Most people don't understand the process of being thoughtful. Society accepts half-truths, thus seeking answers blindly and in a rush for certainty, which condemns most people to uncertainty. Use this information as a powerful weapon to move forward by taking back your human rights.
One's willingness to surrender certainty will often cause a person to struggle unless they discover ideas that seem obvious. For example, for centuries, people believed that if they walked under a ladder that they would have bad luck. Commonsense should lead us to see that this is untrue. If the ladder is not set up properly and you walk under it, sure, you may find yourself struggling to get out of the way, but for the most part, you will not have bad luck when you walk under a ladder. It is superstitious teachings that lead us to believe such lies.
The laws of nature
Most people go through life basing their information on the "laws of nature". The fact is, the laws of nature are embedded in our heads. Everyday most people are fed vague information that leads them to change their minds and habits. The only way to know if something is true is to challenge the answers by re-examining them more closely.
Most of the conflicts that develop in our mind can be easily resolved. At least you can clarify most of your doubts or conflicts that develop in your mind. Defining the key terms upfront is your ticket to solving problems effectively, even if it is abstract or emotion-laden terms. For example, justice, progression, peace, freedom, germs, etc.
We must learn to define our key terms, otherwise disaster may follow. For example, many people have died in the name of justice, peace, freedom, etc, yet realistically if people used their critical thinking skills to re-examine the situations, many people would have kept their lives.
Most people express their opinions, which is claimed to be a natural human activity. Yet, throughout the centuries, people's lack of ability to use critical thinking to find the facts to clarify the truth has led us to where we are today. Many people have suffered dearly by holding in their opinions and failing to discover facts that support their allegations. Thus, they suffered by acting defensive with others, putting themselves down and procrastinating.
When one builds critical thinking skills, one can learn to accept other people's opinions although they may be different from yours. At one time, most people on the planet Earth believed that civil rights for women and blacks were unpopular and dangerous. What was logically accepted then was based on opinions without facts to verify that it was true. You see that opinions change over the years as we move into the 21st century into a better tomorrow.
Agree or disagree
We are not obligated to agree with anyone's opinion. It is our human right to disagree. Critical thinking, however, allows us to take the time to discover the facts to either modify the opinion or else reject it. Most skilled debaters have built strong critical thinking skills that help them to sum up others' viewpoints or opinions. Thus, skilled critical thinkers are confident - more so than those who express their opinions without facts to support them.
On a real note, we all are different. Our habits, outlooks, preferences, values, fingerprints, etc, are all different than others'. Our different traits are characterized by our upbringing, culture, experiences and decisions. Until you walk in another person's shoes it is unreasonable of you to disregard others' viewpoints without mindfully considering them first.
The call for Effective understanding
When a person uses effective understanding, they do not judge others. Throughout our life, teachers inform of us of things we may already know. Doctors prescribe medications before they diagnose the problem, etc. etc. the point is we grow and learn. To understand other people we have to sum up their opinions or viewpoints to clarify the meaning.
Tip - a diversity of opinions leads us to discover something new
Consider the source - when you have doubts about something, consider the source. Research the topic that is confusing to you. Sum up what you read.
Write - on a piece of paper after you discover something that has confused you before, write out what you have learned by summing up what you have read.
We have helped you to understand opinions of others better and how you can use your critical thinking skills to advance toward a brand new tomorrow; now join us in learning how to solve problems effectively by using your critical thinking skills.
Using CBT to solve problems effectively
Previously, you learned about the benefits of building critical thinking skills. In this article, you will learn how to use those critical skills effectively to solve problems. Whether you have doubts, fears or are apt to procrastinate or simply believe your problems are constant, you can use critical thinking skills to overcome any problem. We can get you started with a simple practice.
Notice any discomforts or anger you feel when talking with others and when the conversation shifts to a particular subject. Think about a conversation that you encountered with someone in regards to politics, religion, etc.
Challenging your triggers
We all have triggers which cause us to react in a certain way, e.g. angry, sad, hurt, etc. Some people become angry when they talk about religion while others get heated when they discuss politics. Thus, it makes sense that we all move to discover what gets our goat or makes us angry. The key to reducing the effects that result from these triggers is to use our critical thinking skills to discover something new about the subject.
To relieve anger one must be willing to challenge the entire world's viewpoints and ideas. Read, talk and express your thoughts with others to find out if they share the same opinion as you. Challenge your own opinions and viewpoints.
Consider one of your opinions, e.g., "I believe that germs will kill me." Find some newspapers, articles, books, or online information to help you understand germs better. Search for evidence or proof that someone has died from contact with germs. Notice how other people's opinions differ from yours.
Who told me that?
When it comes to verifying if something is true, you need to consider the source. Seeking contrasting viewpoints is smart because it helps us to challenge people's biased opinions who have vested interested in one viewpoint. For example, the President of a Tobacco company may dispute the fact that smoking may cause lung cancer or heart disease. Who do you believe? The president of the company has a vested interest. Medical experts and scientists have factual proof linking smoking to lung and heart disease.
Discover alternative ideas
Take time to discover alternative ideas when in doubt. Do not suppress your opinions. Instead, check out other sources to discover whether or not an opinion is true. When you move to discover new ideas, it helps you to find the facts. When you develop a fact-based system of ideas, it builds convictions that no-one can tear down.
Tip - realize that most problems allow room for permanent solutions!
Questions lead to discovery
Part of the problem-solving process involves critical thinking skills which you must use to question opinions. When critical thinking skills are broken down briefly it is defined as an 'ask questions, find answers' formula. If you want to build critical thinking skills effective follow the practice below.
Make it a practice to ask serious or critical questions that others find to be powerful, e.g. does war truly solve problems?
Critical thinking skills
Critical thinking skills will move you to ask questions, seek answers, evaluate opinions giving, examine the source, and move you to check for alternatives to verify if any facts exist.
When you use critical thinking skills to find answers, try to find at least three supportive claims that back a certain opinion of interest to you. When you accept one answer to a question, you eliminate other answers and limit your abilities. When you check one answer and compare it to another answer, however, you build creative skills, make honest inquiries, and find yourself experiencing a conceptual breakthrough. But, you must also take other actions:
Critical thinking is a complex process because the world around us is complex and critical. Some of the answers you discover may be contradictory. Thus, it is important to prepare by refusing to accept that your ideas should be methodical and organized. Thus, you must also be willing to change your mind.
Changing your mind
When arguments develop, it is because most people come armed with opinions that they refuse to change and will not accept others' viewpoints. When someone has an opinion that they are unwilling to change they may as well silence themselves for the rest of their lives. To avoid staying stuck in one state of mind, enter into discussions with an open mind.
When you have open discussions with others, you are willing to accept new ideas. After using your critical thinking skills you can either move to keep your own opinion or else you can challenge your opinions which may be wrong.
Laying it on the line
When someone has an uncritical thinking mind, they block any new information that comes in and will reject new ideas. Scientists are people who will find one answer and change the answers for us later. They thrive on challenging the facts and opinions to discover something new. We all can join them to follow the basic steps to opening our mind to new ideas.
Write - put some of your opinions on paper and examine them. Let someone you trust see what you have written and ask them to share their beliefs and opinions with you. Examine the differences between your views closely and ask questions when you feel doubt.
Always examine your problems from various perspectives. When you take time to examine your problems more closely and ask questions you make room for your mind to discover a way to solve those problems. If you think this isn't true take for example when scientists once though that the sun revolved around the Earth. Later when new tools became available to them, they discovered that the Earth revolved around the sun. It was clear that this last discovery was true.
Write - thoughts roam in our mind rapidly at blinding speeds. When one writes, they slow down the process of thinking, which helps you to see things more clearly. When you re-evaluate your ideas written on paper often you discover things you missed. When you write out your feelings on paper and review them, you soon start to see all of your viewpoints in full light. Thus, you are moved to think critically and thoroughly.
People who express their points of view often seek the truth. Some people believe that there isn't a single truth to any viewpoint, which is untrue. We dare you to take time to discover and learn how you can explain why it is not logical to state that there is no truth. Often we feel angry when someone we love does not do what we expected. We have to defuse our expectations of ourself and others, however, since everyone has a right to make their own decisions.