Critical thinking – Lisa Clark

My first reading in a series of Critical-Thinking, self-improvement papers is CRITICAL THINKING by LISA CLARK. The point of today’s article is to share my key take-away from this book which can be read  in as little as an afternoon. I am new to the subject but it seems to me like a great introduction.

6 skills that make the core of critical thinking

Interpretation: the ability to understand information and to relay it correctly and succinctly to others.

Analysis: The collection of different pieces of information to determine meaning rather than just interpreting pre-gathered material.

Inference: Understand the implication of something without it being obvious.

Evaluation: being able to assess the worth of information.

Explanation: being able to relay that information to others with GREATER detail and clarity

Self-regulation: knowing the limits of your abilities and how to use them to get the result you want.


Strategies for developing critical skills

Stop wasting a lot of time endlessly worrying over so many problems that we struggle to fix.

Figure out what sort of things you have control over that relate to the problem, there is no point trying to fix something you can’t.

Figure out options based on the information you have obtained, evaluate their advantages and disadvantages to choose the best course of action. Sometimes the best course of action is to “wait and see”.

Consider journaling your experiences by writing entries that display your critical thinking.

Change how you see situations, how you label situation with a definition. The point is to be able to figuratively take a negative situation and turn it into a good by simply using the power of thought.


Reshaping your character for critical thinking.

The key traits that will help develop critical thinking are: autonomy, integrity, humility, fair mindedness, perseverance, confidence in reason, courage and empathy.

Striving to improve each of these traits will help one move forward anyway.

Humility: Consciously knowing what your limits are is the key to being authentic.

Courage: It takes courage to admit humility. Courage recognises that some ideas can be wrong, unfair, misleading or false.

Empathy: it is to understand the perspective of others and to be able to understand and respect their perception and beliefs. It is about also admitting that other people ideas might also have some value.

Autonomy: it is about not being a product of your emotions and feelings but be able to master both emotion and thought to provide rational analysis no matter the situation.

Integrity: when you are honest to yourself, admitting when you are wrong, you give thoughts more value since you know when your they are true and authentic.

Perseverance: the ability to persevere in the face of adversity for that little bit longer than others.

Confidence in reason: to instinctively know your answers are right and in the best interest of all – people always gravitate towards confident people.

Fair mindedness: treating everyone with both open mind and equality allows you to live up to a better intellectual standard.


Improving logical thinking

Accomplished critical thinkers back their decision based on reason and logic. They look for answer that are supported by fact rather than feeling (*).

Examine why you feel certain strong emotion next time rather than just reacting irrationally and you’ll find what is causing the reaction.

Learn to trust your instincts

Do not trust your memories as the brain will downplays negative events after the fact so that we don’t dwell on them and can move on.

Know your own mind – introspection is a good way to learn more about your own judgement process. Meditation is also a great way to work on your introspection.

Avoid multitasking – by doing many things at once we are not being fair minded. We are prioritizing the quickest choice instead of the logical choice.



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