With all this talk about critical thinking, the emphasis is placed on critical thinking tips, benefits and even characteristics of good critical thinkers. Everyone wants to believe they’re a good critical thinker but in reality not everyone is. It can be hard to take a step back and identify the signs someone isn’t critically thinking. So I’ve compiled a list of three sings you’re not critically thinking and solutions to fix them. You’ll see that you recognize these signs a lot more often than you’d like in the real world. The solutions take extra time and practice but if you ask me becoming a better critical thinker far outweighs the cost.
WARNING SIGN: You make decisions based on first impressions and gut feelings.
SOLUTION: Take time to evaluate the arguments. Be aware of persuasion techniques, especially when someone is trying to influence you. Before you draw a conclusion make sure you weigh the data carefully. Make sure you decipher the relevant data from the “noise” that may trigger gut reactions.
WARNING SIGN: You often agree with & favor opinions that align with yours.
SOLUTION: When you evaluate the arguments try to recognize your biases & those of other’s. Try to avoid confirmation bias by asking questions. Before you draw a conclusion make sure you’ve used multiple sources to help validate or disprove findings. You can even ask others to critique you decisions.
WARNING SIGN: You let your emotions get the best of you. Your emotions impact your decisions and/or let you act impulsively.
SOLUTION: Once you realize emotions are running high, stop. This often happens when someone is strongly invested in a situation or project. Though difficult, the best thing to do when things get heated is to take a break, walk away from the situation or change the subject. Revisit the situation later but acknowledge that you’re emotional and try to separate them from the conversation.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Elizabeth Pauker-Silva