Critical thinking is about analyzing information to get the best answer to your problem. It takes experience, reasoning, observation, and communication. Critical thinking is in high demand. Why? Companies are looking for answers to their questions, especially about growth.
There are many benefits of critical thinking. For example, it helps you validate an argument from an opinion on a topic, engage in deeper connections with colleagues, determine how to improve the quality of your work, develop better conversations, and improve your reading and writing skills.
How to improve your critical thinking skills
So, how do you grow your critical thinking skills? Let’s dive into three main ways you can get better at critical thinking.
1. Determine if your logic makes sense
The best place to start with critical thinking is to make sure your reasoning is correct.
- Are you over-generalizing?
- Are you making sweeping conclusions?
- Do you know all or most of the information?
You must pay attention to the logic of an argument and ask yourself if you have all the facts to produce a sound conclusion? Don’t assume that because Y followed X that Y must have been caused by X.
A logical person knows they can be wrong about something, so they look at the facts. However, if the facts are not there or are suspect, a person must search for answers—one who has critical thinking skills questions everything thoughtfully and intelligently without emotion.
“You have a brain and mind of your own. Use it and reach your own decisions.”Napoleon Hill, an American author
2. Question all of your assumptions
Another way to develop your critical thinking skills is by questioning assumptions. The saying, when you “assume,” you make an a$$ out of “me” and “you.”
When it comes to your organization, you should question beliefs that have been held for a while. For example, is your customer really this demographic, or has it changed over the years? To ensure you don’t question everything, such as “is the sky really blue,” it’s essential to figure out when to ask things.
A good rule of thumb is to question things when the stakes of a decision are high. When you are talking about your company’s strategy, ask questions about assumptions and the future.
For example, when Netflix appeared on the scene, Blockbuster considered Netflix a niche market and didn’t think streaming and on-demand services would take off. Blockbuster’s business model was about retail stores and renting physical copies of movies. They believed what worked in the past would work in the future. Their assumptions were wrong.
It would help if you challenged what you believe. It’s essential to gain new perspectives on your thinking. You can’t rest on your laurels. Depending too much on past successes can jeopardize your future.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”Albert Einstein, a theoretical physicist
3. Look for different perspectives
Groupthink — a psychological phenomenon where people want consensus in a group — is the downfall of critical thinking. For example, do you remember when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded? Groupthink played a role in the disaster.
You must seek out different perspectives. It helps you become a better critical thinker. It’s natural to be attracted to people who think like you. However, you become more rigid and less likely to change your perspective when you think alike.
To improve your critical thinking skills, get outside of your “bubble” of thinking. For example, if you work in marketing, go to your friends in accounting to see how they look at the world. By escaping traditional thinking, you gain insights into how others view specific topics.
“My father used to say, ‘Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.’”Desmond Tutu, a South African Anglican cleric, and theologian
Bringing it all together
It would be best if you took the time to improve your critical thinking skills because it pays off in the long run. You can help your company and career by thinking smart. You become more self-aware of who you are, your motivations, and what you need to do to progress.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”Aristotle, a Greek philosopher
There are three ways to improve your critical thinking. First, determine if your logic makes sense, question your assumptions, and seek different perspectives. When you work on your necessary thinking skills, you’ll make better decisions, make deeper connections with others, and crack the code on complex problems.