What is critical thinking and what are the signs of a critical thinker?

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What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is one of the skills most people need to succeed in this day and age. It allows you to look at things from different perspectives, uncover solutions to a problem and offer a more effective solution. By seeing many different aspects, you will increase cognitive flexibility, so you will be more successful at work and in life.

So are you a critical thinker? The answer will be “Yes” if you often find yourself having the following symptoms.

Signs that you are a critical thinker

You easily chat with others views

One of the most visible signs of critical thinking is that they are not afraid of healthy debate. They believe that any valuable ideas should be carefully considered, so they welcome conversations with people with completely opposite views. Although they may not change their minds after this discussion, they are grateful to have had the opportunity to approach many new perspectives.

You consult information from various sources

You don’t just listen to the opinions of one side because you believe that you won’t have a clearer picture if you do so and that’s why you often refer to information from various sources. You want to know what people think before you give your opinion.

You have a lot of questions

If you are critical, you will often ask lots of questions. You are very curious and you can even disturb people around you because of your curiosity. You want to know all aspects of a story and that’s why you believe you need to verify everything before you make a decision.

You are fascinated by the way things work

You are always fascinated by the way things work and you have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. You always try to learn new things and you won’t trade your curiosity for anything in the world, because it’s your brand. You’re often called a nerd or news junkie, but that doesn’t bother you because you take it as a compliment.

You are willing to change your mind if you discover that you are wrong

Critical thinkers know that they can’t always be right. They are very open to not being able to find a solution for everything, and when that happens they are willing to admit.

You avoid excessive analysis that leads to “paralysis” in decision making

Although critical thinkers enjoy learning about every aspect of the problem, they feel like they have enough information to make a decision. They know they will never have all the information they want, so they don’t get caught up in it and accidentally let that affect their ability to act.

You have creative and unique ideas

People with critical thinking are mostly creative people. They do not like using what has been standardized to solve a specific problem – if there is a different, more creative and efficient way, they will definitely use it rather than the old model. They prefer to think in a new way, stereotypes only slow them down.

If you do not have the above signs, do not worry. The good news is that critical thinking skills can be learned. Practicing the following 4 steps will help you become a critical thinker.

Make a question

We make hundreds of choices every day without thinking too much about them sometimes. In today’s busy life it is necessary but it is more helpful if we stop for a moment and try to see the problem with different eyes. “What if …?” is a question that challenges your normal operating mode. You might ask, “What if I do this differently than I do now?” or “What happens if I change processes?” … Frequently asking questions like this is a great way to improve your critical thinking skills.

Look for information

Once you’ve asked every question about a problem, look for information that will help you answer those questions. You can find everything on the internet but that is not the only source. Ask the people around you and collect these different ideas.

Information analysis

You have the information and now is the time to analyze it all with an open mind. This is the most challenging part because we all have more or less prejudices about any issue. So, try to recognize these biases and set them aside. This is the time when you need to consider the information obtained in the most impartial manner. “Am I speculating?”, “I have considered the situation from different points of view? … are the questions that remind you to remain objective and unbiased.

Convey the solution

Persons critical thinking care more about solutions than blame, complain or gossip. Once you’ve reached a conclusion through critical thinking, it’s time to present and implement the solution if required. This is the time to show empathy and the ability to speak skillfully. Not everyone involved understands the situation as you do, so present solutions in a way that everyone can understand.

Huynh Tram

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