"It's a way to routinely and consistently seek problems in your thinking." Related: How to Sharpen Your Decision-Making Skills Try these three strategies to help you think through a problem effectively. For example, if you are expanding into a new market, your purpose might be to choose the one with the greatest growth opportunity.
Once you identify your purpose, it should inform every step of your decision process.
Moreover, in a world of accelerating change, intensifying complexity, and increasing interdependence, critical thinking is now a requirement for economic and social survival.
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When you think through a problem, your thought process is naturally colored by biases, such as your point of view and your assumptions about the situation. If you let your biases drive your thought process and overlook blind spots in your logic, you’ll unwittingly make decisions filled with holes.
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"Critical thinking is a way to intervene in your thought process," says Linda Elder, an educational psychologist and president of the Foundation for Critical Thinking based in Tomales, Calif. Every time you face a decision, there is a purpose attached to that choice, or a goal that the decision will help you achieve.
The goal of critical thinking is to bring those biases to light so they don’t obstruct your decisions. Ask yourself, what do I believe about this situation? Next, look for any assumptions you might be making about others' thoughts or behaviors.
"Irrational thought is often unconscious," Elder says.