How do you build critical thinking skills?
Critical thinkers often question ideas rather than accepting them at face value. Building critical thinking skills involves rigorously seeking to determine whether ideas, arguments and findings represent the entire picture.
Practical examples of exercises to do?
Know what you want
The first step of critical thinking is knowing exactly what you want. Every decision we make has a purpose or objective attached to it and identifying what that is and what we want out of it, is a starting point to work with.
So, ask yourself: What do I expect to get out of this? What do I want? If you do not know the answer to these questions you are not going to know what the best decision is.
Deal with your biases
Look at different perspectives to deal with problems not just your own. By considering other views you might find yourself hitting upon solutions you would not have previously considered.
Something you can do is think of how your partner, sibling, or best friend might approach the problem. Once you have done that, think about how your boss might approach it.
Consider the consequences of your options
Each decision we make has consequences for either ourselves, or others involved in the problem. So, it is important to weigh up the possible consequences of your options and go for the one that benefits you most and has the least number of negative effects on others involved.
An effective way to do this is by writing a list of the possible pros and cons. By forcing yourself to think about all the outcomes you will be able to make a far more informed decision.
Accept that you are not always going to be right
This is harder than it sounds. However, most of us do not accept this fact and it holds us back from critical thinking. It is okay to mistakes.
An exercise you can do is to find different solutions, consider other options and view your mistakes as an opportunity to grow.
Do not overcomplicate things
Something a lot of us have in common is overcomplicating things. It is a necessity to think about things but when you begin overthinking it only makes things more difficult. There are many occasions where simplicity gets the job done.
You need to discover your own fine line between positive critical thinking and over thinking. Sometimes you may need to let go of what you believe and work with new ideas. This can be challenging but if you do it right, it will all be worth it.