Critical Thinking about Critical Thinking

Prior to this course, I thought I had great critical thinking skills!  But after just a few weeks of this course and the course readings, I’ve been very humbled and discovered that I had very little knowledge of what critical thinking entailed.

During Module 1, I determined that I committed the fallacy of exaggerating in much of my daily life.

The definition for critical thinking is “the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it” (Paul and Elder, 2014).  Since I want to stop intentionally exaggerating, I need to change from my distorted thinking and increase the quality of my thoughts which will take self-discipline and self-monitoring and commitment (Paul and Elder, 2014).

Critical thinking is an intentional effort that takes both training and conscious work; it is not the “kick-back” relaxed go-with-the-flow thinking or passive reading. To me, critical thinking is a conscious effort to question what is being stated; is the statement based on factual data or is it based on emotions; it is the statement based on what someone else said directly or non-directly (because the more people in between the original statement, the more skewed the content).  It is very easy to accept what someone says, adopt it as our own thought and randomly repeat it as if it is 100 percent true…and even add a little bit to it…egads!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve learned that critical thinking is reflective and focused on “deciding” what to believe (Nosich, 2012) and to be a better critical thinker I should ask myself:

1.Why do I believe this statement?

2.Where did this statement originate and do I trust that source?

3.Can I admit to myself that my thinking can be wrong?

These are things that I now ask myself regularly and it has been helping me at my workplace.  I’m asking better questions in meetings and ironically, it helps me stay on point and not get side tracked.

I believe that I can continue to critically think and with practice, it will become an established habit.  I intend to purchase the hard-bound book rather than the ebook so it can be a handy daily reference and reminder to establish that habit.

Circling back to my original critical thinking fallacy of exaggeration; I now understand that to be a successful leader I will need to stop exaggerating which is an obstacle for me in my development; however, once this fallacy is under control, I will be better equipped to mentor others through their fallacy obstacles.  Successful leaders not only meet goals but they do it over time by their perseverance to lead, share their knowledge and mentor others despite obstacles.  In other words, good leaders will have a strong knowledge base from both formal education and experience that can be utilized to lead and teach others even in the presence of challenges.