6 Powerful Characteristics of Great Critical Thinkers

We spend so much time discussing what critical thinking is and how to do it that we often overlook an important conversation: what skills do good critical thinkers have?

I believe there are 6 characteristics needed to be a great critical thinker. Sure there may be more but together these are powerful. Do you have them?

1. Curiosity. Allow yourself to be curious. Great critical thinkers tune into their desire to continue learning and understanding how things work. Be inquisitive about anything and ask questions others may have but don’t ask.

2. Humility. Great critical thinkers understand that their ideas may not be the best and that they do not know everything. I once had a fortune cookie that told me, “knowledge comes from being humble” – that once you accept that you don’t know everything you’re more likely to continue your search for answers.

3. Ability to research. Don’t have an answer? Aren’t satisfied with an answer? Does something sound a little off? The ability to research things and bring in multiple resources will unveil a lot.

4. Active Listening. Don’t just hear what others have to say, engage in conversation.

5. Objectivity. Great critical thinkers have the ability to remain objective. They understand the goal, stay focused and don’t let their emotions (or others’) cloud their judgment.

6. Creativity. Allow yourself to be creative. Brainstorming without judgment can spark amazing ideas. Thinking outside the box may create a solution. Sometimes denying ourselves this freedom holds us back more than we’d like to think.

You may critically think and not possess one or more of these powerhouse characteristics. You may even be a good critical thinker and not possess some of these. Or you may value other characteristics and skill sets more. But take a moment and recognize the benefits these offer. Now think of the people you believe to be great critical thinkers. Do they have these characteristics? My guess is yes.  Evaluate yourself – do you have these powerhouse characteristics?

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Elizabeth Pauker-Silva

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7 responses to “6 Powerful Characteristics of Great Critical Thinkers”

  1. Lynn Milller

    Lizzie-
    Thank you so much for incorporating these very important characteristics into a model for great critical thinkers. I have often struggled with some beliefs that this a black or white and completely objective way of thinking and making decisions–so many opportunities can be missed with this approach. What I like about your approach is how it takes into account the value of thinking about what you might NOT be seeing that could provide you with keys to the impacting results and solving problems. Can’t wait to learn more!
    Lynn

  2. EMELIA AINOOSON

    i really liked the simple way you put your points. i had an assignment to do and you really helped me. thank you.

  3. christine Gakii

    Thanks alot for the good highlight of what a good critical thinker ought to possess.it has dawned on me that these pointed out characteristics can be of great value to everyone and philosophers to be like me

  4. ian kipngetich

    thanks for letting us adapt to these characteristics

  5. madanga felix

    thank you very much for helping me to myself this has given me the platform of rating my own self

  6. peter mutua

    hi..allow me to say thanks for your concern to we student. your notes are well organized and anyone can understand better .God bless you ….

  7. favary

    am not sure whatever you say in this statement. thank you so much!

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