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What do you need to succeed---just thinking or critical thinking

Updated on September 20, 2009

If a person uses his mind to analyze and study whatever information that is available, it is called critical thinking. Though the information that is available is absolute, the person will study them and find out the reasoning to determine the appropriate insights they offer.

When situations warrant use of logic to find out the solution to a problem, critical thinking is the only tool. Educational institutions are yet to give due importance to developing critical thinking skills in students.

Memorizing information alone will fail to help us in solving problems on a number of occasions. Only if critical thinking skills are applied in alignment with the information memorized, we can be successful in finding the right solution on such occasions. It will be amazing to find that critical thinking will help us find the relationship between totally unrelated things. History, mathematics, science, engineering and many other subjects use this technique for solving many problems. There are two parts in critical thinking and one is the cognitive skills and the other how these skills can be used in day to day functions.

Critical thinking is at a higher plank than just acquiring knowledge. If you have critical thinking skills, you will look at a problem from all angles.You will also go deep into the arguments of both sides, break the arguments down so that their implications are also studied. This will help you to choose the argument that contains less contradictions to support it.

Critical thinking can not be used to find the absolute truth in the available information. The available information may be very much limited and the situation may need more information which may never be available. The source from which the available information is got may be a biased source. Feelings and emotions must never shadow critical thinking but they can not be totally disconnected. Various connections do exist and if you do not accept this fact, you are oblivious to reality.

To develop critical thinking skills, you must first overcome your biases. You must also stop judging information without studying or analyzing them. You should never think that whatever knowledge and experience you have got is the ultimate or supreme. You should adopt the technique of asking more and more open-ended questions. The next important thing is to stop making assumptions unless it is absolutely needed to get the right solution. You should also keep your mind open even after the solutions are found using your critical thinking skills because things may change and there may be a need to review your stand.

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