|Everyone thinks. Everyone continuously makes decisions to act or not act - to believe something or not believe something.|
|Each decision you make results in outcomes, and those outcomes have consequences. The consequences generally include some combination of benefits, risks and costs. The consequences can have an immediate or delayed impact on your life and can range from significant to insignificant.|
|Critical Thinking is a tool or process that will enable you to effectively evaluate benefits, risks and costs then make good, Informed Decisions that will help increase the chance of beneficial consequences while minimizing risks and keeping costs reasonable for the value obtained.|
|Critical Thinking sounds easy in theory - it simply involves careful evaluation and analysis of all factors involved in the informed decision making process, recognizing and minimizing your biases and reaching the most beneficial conclusion for how to act or believe.|
|Critical Thinking can be challenging in practice - it involves careful evaluation and analysis of all factors involved in the informed decision making process, recognizing and minimizing your biases and reaching the most beneficial conclusion for what to believe or how to act. This process includes understanding how our own beliefs, knowledge base, biases and preferences can influence our analysis and decision making process.|
|Critical Thinking is NOT simply accepting what appears to be the easiest or most obvious information available or trusting one's preconceptions or some designated authority when deciding what to believe, what to purchase and/or how to act.|
|ALWAYS assume that anyone who is trying to persuade you to believe in or purchase something will provide information that supports their product claims or beliefs.|
|Benefits of Critical Thinking: Save money - or at least use it wisely; Build self confidence; Develop analytical skills; Learn how to evaluate resources; Figure out reasonable solutions to complex problems; Enhance your knowledge; Reduce your gullibility and avoid scams.|
|Three Steps To Critical Thinking:
|Critical thinking is an effective antidote for gullibility. Gullibility is not necessarily related to intelligence (or the lack thereof) - highly intelligent individuals can be convinced by an effective illusion and be so confident their beliefs are correct that they accept the presented supporting 'evidence' as true, fail to rigorously question the 'evidence' and fall for a well executed scam.|
The Problem: Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated. http://www.criticalthinking.org
I have been an active advocate of critical thinking for many years, and I try to practice what I promote.
There are many definitions of Critical Thinking and many ways of explaining the process. This discussion will focus on Critical Thinking as it can be used to enhance your decision making process.
Critical Thinking is a process that will help you avoid making poor, uninformed decisions that are based on biases, prejudices, wishful thinking, lack of accurate information or reliance on untrustworthy, unreliable authorities.
Critical Thinking is a tool that will enable you to make good, Informed Decisions based on an accurate interpretation of the situation. Informed decisions are more likely to result in choices that have positive outcomes and consequences for your life than uninformed decisions.
I can look back through my life's experiences and review decisions I
have made over the years. Many, of course, were made without benefit
of critical thinking, and some turned out to have beneficial consequences
anyway while others did not. After learning about critical thinking I probably
have a better track record of decisions with beneficial outcomes.
Honestly, it is not easy to continually monitor my decision-making process
and apply the methods of Critical Thinking, and as described in my ad fiasco
above, I am not always successful.
Additional Thoughts (no Java)
The process of Critical Thinking I have found to be effective includes the following three steps:
As noted above, the concept of Critical Thinking is easy to understand in theory and the steps are very straight forward. It can, however, be very challenging and time consuming to implement consistently, since the process involves relentlessly reviewing and evaluating not only all new information but one's own beliefs. Challenges arise from three main sources:
There are two essential points about Critical Thinking to keep in mind:
Copyright - 2005, Randy Johnson. All rights reserved.
Updated April 2015