When we teach people how to think critically and question rational thought, we help them become better problem-solvers, better decision-makers, and more informed citizens. And when we encourage them to ask questions, we help them become critical thinkers who will question their own assumptions about the world around them — and who will be able to detect false information when they see it!

We’re a society that’s built on rational thinking. We like to think of ourselves as being reasonable, rational beings who make decisions based on facts and data. But what if we’re not?

We often assume that when we make a decision, we’ve weighed all of the options and made the best choice possible. But what if our decision-making process is actually biased in some way? What if we aren’t weighing all of the options, but instead are only considering information that supports our preferred outcome? This is called confirmation bias — and it’s something that affects all of us.

Confirmation bias happens when you selectively choose the information that supports your beliefs and ignore anything else. For example, let’s say you believe that eating chocolate makes you feel happy — but every time you eat chocolate, someone nearby starts laughing at you or making jokes about your weight. Because those things happen after eating chocolate (and not before), you might start to believe that eating chocolate makes people laugh at you or tease you about your weight gain. But really, those things could happen no matter what — they’re just more likely to happen after eating chocolate!

Questioning your own thoughts is the first step toward critical thinking.

But what does that mean, exactly?

Critical thinking is a process of examining and evaluating something. It’s not just about being sceptical — it’s about being able to look at things from different angles and come to an informed conclusion. The ability to think critically is important for all kinds of reasons, but it’s particularly useful when you’re trying to make decisions about things like financial investments or career progression.

It’s a skill that’s critical in all areas of life, from education to business to everyday interactions.

Critical thinking is the ability to evaluate information and ideas from multiple perspectives, identify flaws in reasoning and logic, and make decisions based on evidence rather than emotion or bias. It’s an essential skill for anyone who wants to be successful in their career or life — and especially those who want to make new products or launch businesses — but it’s not always easy to develop. Even if you’ve been practising it all your life (or most of it), there’s always room for improvement!

It’s not about being right or wrong — it’s about having the ability to explore different possibilities and arrive at a conclusion that you can defend with evidence.

Critical thinking is a way of thinking that helps you solve problems, make decisions, and reach conclusions.

Critical thinkers look at the quality of their own reasoning and try to find ways to improve their thinking. They look for gaps in their knowledge, and they ask questions like “What do I know?” or “How do I know this?”

“The world is complicated. But does every problem require a complicated solution?”– Stephen J. Dubner

The best way to learn how to think critically is by practising! Try questioning the way you normally think about something, like your morning routine or the way you approach problems at work. That’s where we come in: here are three questions designed specifically for helping you learn how to question your own thoughts:

  1. What am I assuming?
  2. What evidence do I have?
  3. Is there another way of looking at this problem?

Why is Critical Thinking so important?

It’s important to be able to think critically because not all information is trustworthy — there are some people who will try to persuade you with false or biased information. Some news sources are considered “fake news” because they intentionally spread misinformation for political or financial gain. Critical thinkers can evaluate the credibility of these sources and determine which ones are reliable enough to base important decisions on.

Critical thinking is a skill that we all need, but it’s not something that comes naturally. Why? Because it requires us to question our own rational thought, which can be uncomfortable and difficult.

So how do you start the process of becoming more critical? Here are some tips:

  1. Ask questions. This is a great place to start! You might want to ask yourself questions like “Why did I choose this?” “How do I know this is true?” or “What else could explain this result?” The more questions you ask, the more you will be able to see what’s right and wrong with your assumptions. Question the information you’re given.
  2. Be open-minded and empathetic. It can be hard to change your mind about things once they’ve been ingrained in your brain for a while — but if you’re open-minded and empathetic toward others’ opinions, it will be easier for you to find common ground between their points of view and yours, which will help both parties understand each other better.
  3. Use evidence from multiple sources when possible — and consider whether those sources are reliable or not (i.e., don’t just trust Wikipedia). Look for evidence supporting each side of an argument before making up your mind about it; don’t just believe what people tell you because they seem like they know what they’re talking about (and even if they do have experience, there could be reasons why their personal experiences aren’t applicable to your situation).
  4. Ask yourself why something is true or false, right or wrong, etc.
  5. Consider multiple sides of an issue before coming to a conclusion; don’t just go with your gut feeling! That’s probably not going to be enough when faced with complicated situations that don’t have simple solutions like “yes” or “no”.
  6. Try Reversing Things. If you find yourself stuck on solving a problem, try inverting your thinking. If X is the cause of Y, then is the opposite also true? If so, what are some solutions to Y that would cause X? A classic example of reverse thinking is the “chicken and egg problem.” At first, it seems obvious that the chicken had to come first — after all, the chicken lays the egg. But then you quickly realize that the chicken had to come from somewhere — and since chickens come from eggs, the egg must have come first. Or did it?
  7. Think about how things influence one another — what happens when X happens? What happens when Y happens? What happens if both X and Y happen together?
  8. Observing bias: The ability to recognize when your own biases are influencing your judgment (and then correcting them)
  9. Valuing evidence: The ability to weigh various kinds of evidence, factoring in its reliability and relevance when deciding if something is true

“Critical thinking of any kind is never universal in any individual; everyone is subject to episodes of undisciplined or irrational thought.”

– Michael Scriven and Richard Paul

There are 5 steps involved in critical thinking:

  1. Identify the issue/problem/situation: What exactly are you trying to figure out? What is the question that needs answering? What is happening in your life right now? Make sure you’re clear on this before moving on!
  2. State the issue clearly: Once you’ve identified what needs to be figured out, state it as clearly as possible. This will help you identify all possible solutions, so be sure to write down everything that comes to mind!
  3. List all possible solutions: Now that you have a better idea of what needs figuring out and what kind of answers could solve it, write down all possible solutions. Don’t worry about evaluating them yet — just focus on getting them all down on paper!
  4. Evaluate each solution based on its strengths and weaknesses: Now that you’ve got your list of possible solutions, evaluate each one based on its strengths and weaknesses. Which solutions are best suited for this particular situation? Which ones do not fit as well? Why do they not fit as well? How likely is each solution to solve the problem? What are its limitations? Which is most likely to succeed? If it fails, what other options do we have? These are the questions that will help you determine which solution is best for meeting your goals. Make sure you answer these questions thoroughly before moving on to step five!
  5. Choose the best solution based on your evaluation: After evaluating each possible solution, choose the one that you think will work best to meet your needs and achieve your goals. You may have more than one option left at this point; if so, compare them against each other again using the steps above and choose the result that makes sense for you and your situation.

Conclusion:

Some of the most breathtaking solutions to problems are astounding not because of their complexity, but because of their elegant simplicity.

In fact, many times the best solutions to our problems lie right in front of us — we just have to look at them a little differently.

If you find yourself stuck on a problem, try taking a step back and looking at it from a different angle. Sometimes it’s helpful to look at something from an outside perspective: Does this problem seem like it would be easier if you were looking at it from an outsider’s point of view? Would other people have trouble understanding what we’re trying to do here? Could they find this confusing or difficult? Is there another way we could explain it so that everyone can understand?

The beauty of critical thinking is that we can apply it to everything in our lives — from our personal relationships to our professional endeavours and everything in between. We can even use critical thinking to evaluate the effectiveness of critical thinking itself!

Critical thinking requires us to be honest with ourselves about what we’re experiencing in any given moment and question whether or not what we’re experiencing feels right for us. If it doesn’t feel right for us, then there must be something wrong with how we’re viewing or processing what’s happening around us. And if there’s something wrong with how we’re viewing or processing what’s happening around us, then we need to ask ourselves: why?

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