The Importance of Thinking Critically

When faced with any sort of obstacle in life, the most important tool you have is the ability to think critically. The earlier you begin to form this skill, the better you will be at solving problems as an adult. Clear thought can be applied to relationships, emergencies or even your career. Set yourself up for success!

Write It Down

If you have the time, whip out a pencil and paper. Putting your thoughts down where you can see them might make even the muddiest of conundrums more clear. Depending on the issue, there are various organizational patterns you can give this process. When comparing ideas or looking for overlap, a good venn diagram can help you visualize. Concept maps and webs can help show the relationship between components of complex concepts. A flow chart can break down a process. Lists and outlines are good for organizing thoughts. You can also write or draw totally free-form, there is no wrong way to put your thought process on paper.

Talk It Out

Working through the issue out loud, especially with feedback, can help you formulate a plan with confidence. Sometimes you don't even know you were thinking something until you've spoken it out loud. Speaking with other people also invites new perspectives to the table, allowing you to see a problem from multiple angles. Two heads are better than one, and three heads are better than two! This type of problem-solving works on multiple levels- it increases your social skills and cooperative abilities, as well.

Take Your Time

Sometimes complex ideas need to marinate in order to become understood. Don't force out a solution, take the time to let whatever you are facing steep. Rushing to a conclusion hardly ever works out. To facilitate this calm contemplation, breathing exercises and meditation can be helpful. Don't be fooled, these important tools aren't just for yogis- they help all sorts of people in almost any kind of situation. It is useful to distance yourself from emotions that may cloud your judgment.

Research

Ignorance is not something to be ashamed of. It should be embraced and acknowledged, otherwise, it can get in the way of meaningful resolutions or progress. In order to better inform yourself before making decisions, reach out! Ask people questions, go to the library and google up a storm in your quest for the truth. There is a reason that people say knowledge is power. A wise person is one who realizes they know nothing. You may not have to be this zen in your approach, but it doesn't hurt to keep in mind. While researching, be careful about what sources you use and try not to rely on just one.
It is hard to break the habit of reactionary thinking.  Once you do, your perspective on everything may change immensely.  You could become that calm, cool and collected person that everyone comes to for advice.  Life will have a lot harder time giving you lemons.  Nothing is ever as smooth as in the fairy tales, so maybe you should become the type of person who can who makes it smoother.  Good luck out there!



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