Sunday, October 24, 2010

Critical Thinking at Work

By Ricky S Kahn

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Decision making is a part of our daily routine, may it be work or home. Adopting a practical, logical and rational approach is often a result of critical thinking which leads to making the right decisions.

Critical thinking is the process of analyzing and being aware of one's thoughts in order to make an effective decision. One has to train their mind to make rational and accurate decisions on a consistent basis. By using critical thinking one can ask applicable questions, analyze the pros and cons and arrive at the right conclusion. A critical thinking approach leads to more constructive actions to a problem at work. Increasing awareness about several factors with respect to particular problems helps us avoid ineffective decisions, while at the same time, helping us learn about ourselves.

How to apply critical thinking?

There are several things that one needs to consider when on a critical thinking path. Do not pass a judgment based upon your initial reactions. Observe them carefully. Examine your reactions. Try to understand the reason behind that particular reaction. If the problem is vague, try to put in more effort to understand it by asking questions. Think of different alternatives to the situation or issue. Think from the other person's point of view, Empathize with the opponent's viewpoint. Consider alternate solutions and be fair.

Check if all the necessary data is available. Gather all the documents and keep them in your briefcase, so that they can be accessible whenever required. Use all the evidence skillfully and impartially. Organize all your thoughts concisely. Distinguish on the basis of relativity and validity. Do not go ahead with making a decision if there isn't any relevant evidence. Understand the criteria upon which your decisions are based and apply problem solving skills. Problems often have multiple solutions that may depend upon various circumstances. Critical thinking helps in making reliable and responsible conclusions.

Ability to do critical thinking

Applying critical thinking can help a person in many ways. The benefits of critical thinking involve improved thinking processes, avoiding favoritism, making valid assumptions and finally leading to effective decision making. A critical thinking approach is used in rational problem-solving. A person who has the knowledge of science and math is capable of thinking critically. Any individual with an advanced degree in any university discipline has almost certainly learned the techniques of critical thinking.

Critical thinking is also critical investigation of problems. Critical thinkers always tend to investigate problems, ask relevant questions, come up with new answers that challenge the opponent and discover new information that can be beneficial. They even question authorities and traditional beliefs and challenge the others involved in the process.

Most people rely on others thoughts and depend on them for the decisions to be made. Most people get caught in emotional thinking, believing that what they believe is true because they had wished for it or hoped for it to be true. Most people, therefore, do not think critically.

Critical thinking is the ability of processing all the information in the most skillful, precise and thorough manner achievable. It is a process that leads to the most dependable, rational and reliable conclusions. Once these are practiced one can make responsible decisions about one's life, behavior and actions with full knowledge of assumptions and consequences of those decisions.

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