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10 Qualities that Help Shape Critical Thinking

Last updated on : March 14 2020

Critical Thinking written on notebook page

Critical thinking

You’ve probably read or heard many discussions about critical thinking. Most situations in life call for the use of critical thinking skills. The person who develops and puts to use his or her critical thinking skills will rise like cream and achieve anything he or she wants.

Some of the people we look up to were critical thinkers. And they shaped our modern lives to a great extent. These are people like Sigmund Freud, Henry Ford, and Albert Einstein, to name a few.

Critical thinkers make the best decisions most of the time because they make logical connections between ideas clearly and rationally.

Critical thinking is not just about accumulating knowledge but a way of approaching life’s situations so that you can make accurate conclusions and sound decisions. Critical thinkers are some of the best leaders around the world. They are always focused on learning and improving themselves.

If you want to become a critical thinker, you’ve come to the right place.

Defining critical thinking

Despite its importance in the modern world, there is no singular definition that can sum it all up. The Collins Dictionary defines critical thinking as analyzing and judging carefully. Critical thinking is all about studying the world around us with high accuracy and care. It also involves focusing on the bigger picture and accurately drawing conclusions.

When employing critical thinking, you should do so without being emotional because emotions tend to cloud judgment. Every conclusion should be logical, keeping in mind that there is a cause for every effect. Your findings must be unbiased.

Apart from that, you should ask yourself questions. Asking yourself relevant questions is one of the best ways to analyze the situation. By questioning and analyzing objectively, your conclusions will be accurate. And you’ll find ways to improve yourself creatively and positively.

Critical thinking qualities

Now that you know what critical thinking is, let’s look at the ten qualities that help shape critical thinking. Anyone who possesses these qualities is unstoppable!

1. Observation

As the essay writer reports, observation is one of the critical skills that we acquire when we get into this world. It is one of the building blocks of efficient and successful critical thinking, helping us learn about our world together with its laws.

We observe by using our five senses, namely sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing. Once we receive information through observation, we reach conclusions that we usually follow up with questions.

The older we get, the more experienced observers we become of our world and the problems we face regularly. These observations give us a deeper understanding of our society and the people around us. It also helps us know ourselves and discover our motivations, which are critical for personal development.

2. Creativity

Creativity is another building block of critical thinking.

As we have seen, most critical thinkers are very creative. They do not rely solely on the popular ways or norms of solving a problem. They are always looking for alternative and effective ways to deal with their situations. They spend a lot of time thinking outside of the box. And patterns or accepted norms tend to slow them down.

So, you might be wondering if there is a difference between a critical thinker and a creative thinker. And yes, there is one thing that differentiates them. Creative thinkers are focused on coming up with new and efficient ideas, while critical thinkers focus on analyzing old and new ideas and choosing the best alternative.

3. Well-developed communication skills

One’s inability to observe an issue accurately with a clear and calm mind causes most communication issues.

All great communicators have clarity of thought. You cannot imagine a successful person who cannot communicate effectively and persuade others. If your thoughts and communication are incoherent, people will ignore or even convince you otherwise.

Critical thinkers pay attention to their thinking process and observe how logical or biased their reasoning. By doing this, they can express their opinions systematically and coherently. And this makes it easier for the people around them to understand them.

4. Active listeners

According to UK essays, critical thinkers listen attentively to what other people say so that they can absorb as much information as possible. Apart from listening, they also ask creative questions to get more information.

By asking the right questions, they can easily differentiate the critical information from the less important. By doing this, they end up working with facts and eliminating assumptions. With accurate facts, they can easily reach logical conclusions and make informed decisions.

5. Humble

Another excellent quality of critical thinkers is that they are humble and modest. It’s essential to have confidence and showcase your reliable attributes. However, humility helps us acknowledge our weaknesses.

Critical thinking involves self-reflection. And self-reflection is all about realizing that we are not perfect. And everyone around us has weaknesses. By knowing this, critical thinkers can work on their weaknesses and develop themselves for the betterment of other people. By examining their attitude, they become receptive to other people’s ideas.

6. Prioritizing relevance

Not all kinds of information you receive are relevant. When you are faced with several reports to review, it might seem impossible to determine which information is appropriate for your needs. Prioritizing relevance is one of the crucial aspects of critical thinking.

Remember, most of the information that you come across has little of importance to you and your work. Critical thinkers use the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule. It states that 80% of the information that will come your way is of little importance—only 20% matters. Critical thinkers spend most of their time focused on the 20%. Check if the information presented is useful, or it distracts you from solving your problems.

7. Introspection

Introspection is your ability to analyze how you think. And it is essential for every critical thinker. Through introspection, critical thinkers can question their point of view and how engaged they are in analyzing and observing a question.

Apart from analyzing our points of view, introspection provides us with an insight into our mental and emotional states. Introspection and self-reflection link closely to each other.

8. Analytical thinking

When someone says that he or she is an analytical thinker, he or she means that he or she can look at a problem or issue at different angles and examine the consequences of possible decisions. When he or she determines the best course of action, he or she acts immediately.

Some of the best critical thinkers are analytical thinkers. Analyzing information presented objectively makes it easy to sift through the piles and even maintain personal and professional relationships in the long run.

By analyzing a piece of information, you break it into chunks and inspect these pieces to figure out if they work when put together. Being objective is vital for analytical thinkers who want to become critical thinkers.

9. Curiosity

One of the typical qualities of all great critical thinkers is curiosity. Being curious and asking constructive questions to learn new things is a defining trait for analytical thinkers. Critical thinkers are interested in the people and the world around them. This interest means that they don’t accept anything at face value. They scrutinize everyone and everything that comes their way.

Keep in mind that critical thinkers don’t scrutinize people to manipulate them but to understand them and learn something new. Critical thinkers are life-long learners.

10. Awareness of common thinking errors

To become a critical thinker, you’ll have to polish your way of thinking and avoid common misconceptions. You can do this by being aware of common thinking errors. Common thinking errors typically occur when you make judgments, reach conclusions, or present an argument. These errors include:

  • Circular reasoning – Using the findings from an argument to support the same argument
  • Cognitive bias – solving all your problems using one way and excluding others
  • Correlation and causation – making assumptions with no apparent or logical evidence.

Conclusion

These ten skills above are essential to becoming a successful critical thinker.

Apply critical thinking to different situations in life. The best thing about it is it has no downsides. Don’t be afraid to question the norms or ask constructive questions.

Be on the lookout for new effective ways to solve your problems. Keep reading books, attending seminars, and putting to use what you learn daily. You are a life-long learner. Remember, all the answers that you need are within you. Do you have the courage to find them?

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