7 Habits of Highly Effective Thinkers
How do you become a critical thinker I should reiterate that I am talking about critical thinking in the sense that it is a personality trait and not a skill the tendency to think critically about the world emerges from having the proper character traits I think the following traits serve as a good starting point
“Open and fair, mindedness, inquisitiveness, flexibility, a propensity to seek reason, a desire to be well-informed, and a respect for and willingness to entertain diverse viewpoints”.-Emily Lai Pearson Assessments
There is no quick hack to becoming a critical thinker but there are some habits that one can build to alter their character in the right direction-
Read a lot and read widely exposing yourself to unique points of view is a good way to spark constant curiosity and to stay open-minded well-read people understands that there are multiple ways to look at a problem and multiple lenses with which to view the world.
Don’t jump to conclusion a good critical thinker has built up the habit of not jumping to conclusions especially in the absence of data they only make a judgment once they have studied the topic in some depth and can justify their positions with sound reasoning.
Create systems not goals for example creating a system habit or ritual that promotes writing everyday is more effective than setting the goal of writing an essay a week a system can be measured refined and optimized a goal cannot I can work on the inputs of my system to create better quality and quantity and outputs a goal only focuses on the outputs to improve the quality of my writing I created checklist that I can run through after completing each essay every time I use my system I create better essays with every essays I finish I go back and refine the system it’s feedback loop that can be measured and improve habit.
Argue with yourself great thinkers routinely and intelligently try to counter their own arguments they go back and forth until only the most rational and strongest argument exists based on the knowledge they have this is also the mission of any good scientists the scientist tries to prove themselves wrong not right when they continually fail to do so it’s very likely only the truth remains.
Be willing to change your opinion be unattached to information have the willingness to change an opinion in the face of the better data habit.
Write writing is thinking better we get at writing the better we get at thinking writing also helps us separate what we actually know from what we think we know.
Seek Adversity this one is controversial but I believe the most powerful the main reason schools fail to teach critical thinking is because they don’t create the optimal environment to foster the correct character traits schools are overly standardized and structured the rules are very rigid once students understand the rules school becomes a game once they’ve established a game strategy that can play the game very passively and get by most students quickly learn the bare minimum amount of effort required to get a job and then they have no incentive to work harder and to think actively but if you take them out that game if you break the immersion they are now forced to think critically in adversity they learn to create new rules and break old ones they have to because it’s either do or die the shift from a passive thinker to active thinker is very subtle on the surface because it happens internally it requires internal conviction a strong belief in oneself regardless how many tips I give someone to become a critical thinker it ultimately has to come from a deep desire within most great men and women have gone through adversity why because adversity generates a lot of internal conviction this internal conviction drives them and constantly shift them into active modes of thinking instead of living defensively they attack life with ferocity they’re going to die one day time is running out they don’t know when that day will come so they attack life they race against death because they have a purpose in life to fulfill I like to think critical thinking as a tendency and not a skill great thinkers constantly tend towards critical thinking in their daily lives if school doesn’t teach students critical thinking where are people learning it life adversity, books, the internet these people become critical thinkers despite school not because of it they learn it because they have to I believe that one day schools will catch up into a better job of fostering this environment but thankfully we always have the power to put ourselves in a position to learn it.
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