What Is Critical Thinking And Why Is It So Important?

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How do you handle unexpected challenges?

The fact that our current educational systems tend to put more emphasis on what we learn rather than how we learn, the important skill of critical thinking has become neglected.

If you want to overcome challenges in the most effective way, you need to improve the way you approach problems, ideas and suggestions.

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking has been defined as:

“The ability to remove all emotion from an issue and observe the facts objectively to make a logical decision.”

Steve Siebold

Put simply, critical thinking is the way you think about things. In other words, it’s about questioning facts to get a true, all-rounded understanding of a subject. It requires you to make use of your reasoning skills, rather than simply accepting facts at face value.

When it comes to solving problems, critical thinkers will identify, analyse and resolve challenges systematically rather than emotionally, or by instinct alone.

How can I become a critical thinker?

The key abilities shared by critical thinkers include:

  • Observation To gain an unbiased view of the situation
  • Analysis To establish different perspectives in relation to a particular topic
  • Interpretation To objectively understand the facts of a matter
  • Reflection To ensure a true understanding 
  • Evaluation To determine how valid each argument around a topic is
  • Inference To draw logical, reasonable conclusions from the data
  • Explanation To give structured reasoning and relevant support for arguments
  • Problem-solving To rationally approach challenges and find the best suitable solution
  • Decision making To weigh up options and choose the most reasonable reaction

Once you understand how to think critically, it’s down to you to practice your approach at every opportunity you get.

critical thinking decisions

Why is it important?

It gives you foresight

By thinking critically instead of making rash decisions, you’re more likely to avoid making bad decisions. How? Well, if you consider the impact of your decision on the people involved, you’re more likely to think seriously about the consequences each step will return.

It breeds creativity

Critical thinking involves overcoming assumptions and thinking outside of the box. Instead of looking to previous solutions for problems, it’s more about considering each problem on its own unique merits. For example, the invention of the mobile phone only came about once engineers let go of the assumption that all telephone communications had to take place over wires. This ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking was responsible for their invention becoming one of the most popular modern inventions.

It’s more economical

Applying critical thinking practices in business can help you save more than just money – it can save you time and even your pride. Too often, we don’t think things all the way through and jump into projects, and this can result in backtracking, restarting or even failures. Spending a few moments thinking through your next steps can be the difference between success and costly problems.

It improves teamwork

When every member of a team actively applies more critical thinking in their day-to-day lives, it promotes a better understanding of differing viewpoints. This means that a team has more tolerance of each other’s opinions. As a result, disagreements are likely to reduce and teams are likely to become more efficient.

Do you try to incorporate critical thinking into your daily practice? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

About the author

Zerin Pekin-Kocakgol

1 comment

  • Critical thinking is essential in dealing with complex situations without getting frustrated, this is an essential quality for civil service workers, as they have to deal with public on daily basis which could get extremely tiring and frustrating at a certain point.