In today’s modern society, critical thinking is one of the essential skills needed to be acquired by mankind for his survival. To think critically means to be able to look beyond the conventional way of looking at things and to be able to see underneath the underneath; to not accept things simply as they are, but rather to extend one’s vision further until a well-justified conclusion or answer to an argument has been attained. Critical thinking involves in-depth evaluation and processing of information which are in the form of propositions, statements, and arguments and are claimed by other people as true.
Its goal is to be able to draw conclusions on the validity of these statements by examining the offered evidences and by relying solely on facts and pure logic. Since it is a method of drawing conclusions, it requires proficiency in various information gathering skills such as observation, research, interrogation, and investigation. The main question now will be how to think critically and how to apply critical thinking in everyday living. As a scientific process, Critical thinking can be conducted in a stepwise pattern.
The first thing to do in thinking critically would be to clarify the problem or argument. This step simply requires us to have a concise definition of the problem and its significance. The second step involves gathering information which can be used in solving the problem. This step includes learning more about the nature of the problem, looking at its causes and searching for possible remedies. The method of information gathering can be done by researches, experiments investigations or simply by mere observation. Step three is evaluation of the presented evidences.
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It involves answering questions such as: (1) Where did the presented evidences come from, and how can their validity be supported? (2) What biases can be expected from the sources of the presented evidences? (3) Are the evidences statements of facts or are they presented merely as opinions? The fourth step is the method of making alternative solutions for the problem. This involves creating an orderly list of possible solutions based on the gathered data and analyzed evidences. The final step is the testing and implementation of the best solution from the list of possible solutions.
Now that we have learned what critical thinking is and how we can practice it, it’s about time we think about how this knowledge can be put into good use. Critical thinking has a wide range of applications, from analyzing a simple advertisement, to making heavy decisions such as what career to pursue or what business to invest at. A critical thinker will indeed always have the advantage when it comes to decision making as compared to conventional thinkers. As for one, a person that does not think critically would easily be persuaded by advertisements, therefore these kind of people have high risks of being falling into false advertising.
Whereas, a critical thinker would choose not to immediately believe at whatever is stated in an advertisement, rather, a critical thinker would take the time to make observations, and gather more information in order to prove whether what is claimed by the advertisement is true or not. Thus critical thinkers are those who are more likely to be successful in life. There was this instance when I was still working as a student assistant, that thinking critically spelled for me the difference between success and disaster. I arrived in the office early that day at around eight in the morning.
My superiors have not arrived yet and I’ve had to open the office myself. Minutes later, a man dressed up in formal attire arrived at the office and said that he was sent by one of my superiors to get her laptop for her. The guy said that it was really urgent, and that I should move quickly and get the laptop for him. The guy looked decent and seemed to know what he was saying, he even knew where the laptop was located, and was claiming that it was my superior that told him where he could find it, it was difficult not to trust him.
It was a good thing that I’ve taken the time to think critically at that time, I decided to call my superior on her mobile phone in order to confirm if she did send the guy. When the guy noticed that I was going for the phone, he was shocked and he immediately ran away. I was able to contact my superior and she told me that she has not sent anybody to our office. We reported the incident to the authorities and hours later the suspect was caught. Just imagine what could have happened if I’ve chosen to make the wrong decision. Not only would I be out of the job, I would have been forced to pay for the Laptop.
Success has its price, and it’s definitely going to take more than luck to reach its peak. On the trail towards success, every decision you make is crucial because one mistake could mean the end of everything. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that whenever we make decisions, it is never enough to just think; think critical. WORKS CITED: Guffey, M. E. (1995-2005). Five Steps to Better Critical-Thinking, Problem-Solving and Decisio-Making Skills. Retrieved March 18, 2007, from http://www. westwords. com/GUFFEY/critical. html Thinking Critically. Retrieved March 19, 2007, from http://www. studygs. net/crtthk. htm
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