Critical Thinking.

Hello, My Friends

Critical thinking: What do you think of when you hear this term.

I do not fix problems

I fix my thinking

Then problems fix themselves

Louise L Hay

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Critical thinking has two forms, Internal and External.

It also involves thinking, now, mind activity is not classed as thinking. Thinking involves reasoning, considering, and investigating something. Thinking includes collating data, feelings, and information from a variety of sources.

Critical also has a few meanings, it can be expressing adverse or disapproving judgements or comments, it can also mean to express the analysis of the merits and the faults of written literature, music or art, it also can mean important, vital, essential, completely necessary for existence.

Critical thinking covers a wide range of avenues. As a life coach I’m going to talk about the necessity of thought being vital to the existence of man.

The scripture says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

We have both internal thinking and external thinking, I’m calling the way we treat and judge other people as external thinking, but as we will see all thinking is internal. The way you see other people, and the critical or judgemental way you size them up, speak to them, disrespect their opinions, put them down, and make them feel in anyway interior is a telling way of seeing how you view yourself.

When we mistreat other people it is usually because we have an errant critical thought, that states, “I have to make myself look good, and to do that I must make others look bad, stupid, or ridiculous.” We often think that by showing someone what they are doing ‘wrong’ in a degrading way they will learn and improve and at the very least we feel better about ourselves. But do we. I don’t believe we do. It is my belief that when we create disharmony we experience more disharmony in our lives, and to try to escape these feelings we do things that end up biting us with perilous consequences.

As a society we learn how to live by the things we experience, if we are not encouraged to think situations through to there outcome, we learn to be impulsive and act as soon as we think. Often we are consciously or subconsciously taught what is a societal norm and what isn’t, we are taught directly or indirectly about the classes of people, or how society has labelled classes of people, this affects the way we see and relate to others as individuals, it affects the way we think about justice, worthiness, respect and a whole gambit of other social ‘norms’ . These social classifications affect the behaviour of those labelled in each class, for each class has it’s own defined norms. Each of these norms has an affect on the mental health of each person, no matter where society places them on the scale.

Critical psychology is concerned with unmasking these power imbalances and is based on the critical theory that science must work to improve the lot of all people.

I believe that critical thinking is vital for this to occur, we must question our beliefs, we must question those things we have be trained to hold as truth. Learning to think critically creates change from the inside out.

The second form of critical thinking is internal. And really all thinking is internal, we can tell what a person is thinking or not thinking by their actions.

Critical thinking is an intellectual discipline, it is the process of actively and skillfully creating a concept, by applying, analysing, and putting different ideas and things together to make something new. It is evaluating information gathered from or generated by observation, by experience, by reflecting, reasoning or communication, which guides towards a belief or action.

There are a few basic building blocks that make up the foundation for thinking critically. These are gathering accurate data and facts, analysing the facts, investigating the evidence, observing what went before, what is happening now, and what is the projected outcome in the future. Also creating questions which promote thinking, or discussions of differing points of view. Thinking in a rational manner, being a bit skeptical while keeping an open mind, being unbiased, aware that there may be room for new information and new developments not yet explored or discovered.

There are six ways to develop critical thinking according to one study.

  1. Practice balance thinking.

An unbalanced mind will more easily trip up and fall over problems, dilemmas and issues they face in the workplace, the world and within themselves. The unbalanced mind either overthinks or underthinks, and misses the critical components or the complexities to be worked through.

2. Exercise mental and emotional moderation

By not swinging wildly from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, you give yourself the ability to look at the situation through moderation. By varying your approach, you may find different solutions, trying something different, try asking others for their opinions, try asking others to step up and to contribute you may be surprised to see what comes forth.

3. Practice situational Awareness

Become aware of your ability to recognise core elements within complex situations and issues. Train yourself to develop a wider perspective when evaluating personal, practical and theoretical situations. Learn to listen to the context of what is being said and your judgements of what you’re hearing, also be more aware of the approach and the logical construction of how it is being expressed. This may bias the result. Ask others for the foundational thought that they’ve built their conclusions on.

4. Exercise and promoted effective and efficient thinking

Hold meetings in a different manner, get people out of their comfort zones. Have people stand rather than sit. Use shorter meeting time frames to discipline yourself and your team to stay on point.

A) Define an issue in 2 minutes

B) Allow 3 minutes to state the desired outcome.

C) Clock 4 minutes to list all obstacles

D) List all action items to overcome these obstacles in 4 minutes.

E) Assign action steps to people in 2 minutes.

4. Express richer emotional intelligence (Self-Awareness)

Be a self-aware leader. Practice knowing yourself and others. Seek to understand, then to be understood. Express empathy and believe in others. Regulate your emotional outbursts and moods which will enable you greater control of your disruptive impulses.

6. Focus on the destination not dramas.

Always keep your eye on your workflow timeline, to bring your goals in on time. When focusing on the goal or destination, there is less likelihood that drama will distract you. Keep team members up to date on their roles and responsibilities, your expectations and timelines. Teams work better when everyone is included and knows what is expected of them.

Always allow people to come up with their own conclusions, critical thinking isn’t so much about right and wrong, it’s about thinking purposefully.

Look for the repeatable patterns behind the solutions, what is the same in all the solutions, is there a hidden process.

Ask a respected critical thinker to show you their thinking process.

A true master will always hide in their work, if you look closely you will see their mastery. This is true integrity.

Create finely tuned habits that are designed for reproducible successes.

Critical thinking brings unity, shares wisdom, is methodical and easily actioned to create results.

Until next time, being to ask yourself some questions to get your critical thinking mind thinking deliberately, critical thinking is like a muscle the more you use it the stronger it gets.

oxoxo Linda

As a certified Life Coach, I help you to help yourself, so you can create a well lived life your way. 

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