Who else finds it annoying when people argue blindly without cogent reasons or when ardent followers of a cause throw back blank stares when asked about why they hold their beliefs? Nothing irks me more than when people just assume or simply shrug their shoulders about important societal beliefs. Such people strike me as ignoramuses and entirely gullible people.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, hard work comes before excellence, fear cripples and limits. Have you actually thought about these things or do you just swallow everything hook, line, and sinker? Do you just blindly accept the society’s norms? Do you make assumptions without actually thinking about things? Or do you let your emotions influence your decisions? In this age and time, ignorance and gullibility are totally inexcusable. Information with which to arm ourselves is just a click away on our smartphones. Materials that would sharpen our reasoning lay uselessly on the shelves of our libraries.
Critical thinking is what eliminates gullibility in people. It separates intellectuals from the others. It enables people to distinguish facts from opinions, scrutinize every piece of information and then make logical deductions. Rather than just accept their personal reasoning as sufficient proof, critical thinkers analyze their thoughts and present evidence for their ideas.
Critical thinkers have strong personalities and know their traits and why they possess them. They stand unwavering by people’s opinions because they think thoroughly and review the alternatives before making any decision in the first place. They know exactly why they do everything they do. They are self-defined people.
Students who are critical thinkers don’t rely on lecturers for every instruction and information. They are independent, self-directed learners. A person can be considered intelligent and competent only when they’re able to make educated choices on complex matters. Even Albert Einstein said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think”.
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The ability to think objectively and solve problems systematically is a great asset for any career. The economy, now driven by information and technology makes it difficult for any individual who lacks the ability to analyze information to keep up. Whether in education, politics, finance or whatever field we chose to delve, critical thinking is an invaluable tool. Critical thinkers are leaders, inventors. They are masters of efficiency. Precision, accuracy, and objectivity is their watchword.
Ordinary people can open closed doors, critical thinkers create doors where there’s none. Perfect examples are Albert Einstein, Socrates, etc. these are people that have opened paths for others to follow. We’re still building on what was laid down by them till this very day. Need I say more?
But how does one gain the ability to think outside the box, master the art of critical thinking and attain great heights of cognitive dexterity?
- Be thirsty for information and knowledge. After all, one cannot think about what one doesn’t know exists. Build yourself. Devour articles and books voraciously. Use libraries and the internet. Ben Carson wrote, “Reading actually does activate the mind the same way that we activate muscles when we lift weights”.
- Walk with smart people. Walk with people whose intelligence will illuminate your thoughts. Engage in enlightening and rational arguments. Dump the small talk and discuss intellectual, mind-provoking matters.
- Be curious and inquisitive. Question your assumptions, review the foundation of your thoughts. See things from other perspective and never jump into conclusions. Shun sentiments in arguments. Realize that emotions are the enemy of reasoning, never let them cloud your judgements.
To sum it up: Be Truth-seeking; Open-minded; Analytical; Systematical and Confident in reasoning.
May the power of critical thinking be bestowed upon you.