Saturday, March 18, 2017

Three Critical Thinking Principles to Make Sound Judgments

Education is not the learning of fact, but the training of the mind to think.” (Albert Einstein)

Critical thinking is one of the most important skills to learn for career and life. Critical thinking is more critical than ever because the business and the world become over-complex, uncertain and ambiguous. Many think there are the critical thinking deficiency and insight scarcity in today’s society. What is the root causes? Is it caused by education gap? Does critical thinking get encouraged or rewarded at school or workplace, or the opposite happens? What could be the better way to groom real critical thinkers? And how to set the principles to inspire the true critical thinking?


In pursuit of multiple perspectives: Critical thinking is a state of applied the multitude of intelligence, at the deeper level, there is creativity embedded in the thought processes. Critical thinking drives clear thinking and clarified reasoning. Clear thinking includes both rational thinking (compare and contrast, define the frame of reference, etc.) and creative thinking (a result of holding the contrasting factors in the mind until something new appears). Critical thinking is a thought process similar to the perceptions, all from the human brain. To deal with the unprecedented change and velocity, it is crucial to encourage digital professionals thinking differently. It is important to be able to be objective and gain a different view in order to develop and have a better understanding of certain topics or problems that may occur. It is strategic imperative to close the cognitive gaps caused by “Group Thinking,” or homogeneous thinking -the thought pattern which is following the crowd, lack of independent thinking or lack of insight to understand things from multiple perspectives. Lack of genuine critical thinking is often the root cause to many poor judgments and ineffective decision-making.


Less prejudgment: It is no surprise to create the thinking gaps by imperfect people using imperfect processes via the narrow lenses or short-sighted vision. We all have a cognitive bias, whether individually or collectively. Biases and stereotyping are how humans cope with larger numbers of other humans than they could ever know. However, when you get down to the smaller group and individual level, these biases, and stereotypes have to be thoroughly tested. Nevel label people only based on their physical identity, because we are all unique, there are no two snowflakes are exactly the same. Be aware of your unconscious bias, keep reminding yourself that you need to observe deeper, respect others as a person and build mind connections; and should not allow your biases to prevent you from making sound judgments. Assess assessors before making an objective assessment of either people or issues. As we all know a small rule is hard to measure the large things, and microscope can’t assess macro objects. Often, in this world, it is not the lack of talent, but the lack of the wise eyes to recognize them, and lack of profound mind to make sound judgments.


Dispassionate analysis: Though passion is often the positive emotion to keep us evolved either at the work or the life. Speaking about critical thinking, it is crucial to dispassionately examine the facts and make an objective analysis and assessment. It is important to broaden the lens and increase perspective, look at another belief from a little less emotional perspective. When you let emotions (likes, preferences, brand, etc.) unduly influence the decision-making, then your emotions supersede the critical thinking. If the thinking is being driven by strong emotions, emotions can blind you seeing clearly all the aspects to be considered in a situation. Critical thinking is also called structured thinking. Unstructured thinking could be opposite to critical thinking. The real critical thinking far outweighs than the conventional critical thinking techniques, such as reason, logic, calculation, and conscious weighing of expected outcomes, etc. It has the ability to catch the trends and discovery of hidden connections. From the management perspective, forward-thinking digital businesses today should look for and promote mental agility and encourage independent thinking, appreciate thinkers of consequence, not thinkers of convenience. They should build a creative working environment in which intellectually engaged people are motivated by hard problems and common challenges. They need to discover and develop people for whom convenience is no motivation. They should inspire talented people thinking differently, recognize and appreciate the real critical thinkers who can fill the digital leadership gap and management blind spots effectively.


The principle of critical thinking is correlated with the purpose of education: “Education is not the learning of fact, but the training of the mind to think.” (Albert Einstein). Critical thinking cannot be defined as genetically inherited only or, can absolutely be taught; it is the thinking capability which needs to be developed based on the individual's own cognition, thinking habit, innate strength, and life experience. Being learning agile is the prerequiste to be the real critical thinker. 

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