In the world we live in today information is everywhere. News sites, blogs, opinion pieces, social media – anyone on the Internet is constantly blasted on all sides. The problem isn’t a lack of information, but the occasional inability to understand and decide what to think about the information given.
That’s where critical thinking comes in. I am a complete newbie to critical thinking, but this is what I understood.
What is critical thinking?
A common misconception is that it is either about the accumulation of information, or about being critical of any information you come across.
Neither of these is accurate. Someone with a strong memory can store a ton of facts, but that doesn’t make them a critical thinker, necessarily.
It’s not about having the information, but being able to use that information to problem solve and also seek out other sources to support or debunk his or her views.
Critical thinking is the disciplined, monitored, and most importantly, the self-correcting form of thought. It sets the bar high on what is demanded of one’s self and insists on effective problem solving and communication.
When one thinks critically about what they know, they’re able to make sense of what’s being presented. This shouldn’t be confused with constantly arguing with or criticizing other people.
Truth be told, with the proper use of such critical thinking, it can help expose flaws in the logic used when an opinion is presented, as well as poor reasoning or false conclusions. A critical thinker will see these and seek to fill in the gaps in the information to arrive at a logical conclusion.
One of the keys to true critical thinking is being critical of one’s own thoughts.
It’s in our nature to being biased toward our own way of thinking. It’s ours! Of course we’re right, or we wouldn’t think this way.
It’s easy to become stuck in that loop, never improving and growing. Sloppy thinking like this can be costly, not only in money, but in time and the quality of one’s life. A critical thinker must strive to improve not only their knowledge, but the quality of their thinking by taking charge of how they perceive something.
Instead of observing it with their own personal prejudice, he or she forces themself to see things for what they truly are. In this way, the critical thinker is better able to apply what he or she knows.
Some believe critical thinking affects creativity, insisting that it requires logic and rationality to be of any worth.
Creativity, on the other hand, is free flowing, goes where it will, and often breaks rules the logical wouldn’t dare touch. The two simply can’t coexist. Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. A critical thinker is constantly looking for answers, even if a path of thought takes them out of the acceptable “box” that everyone else happily sits in. A true critical thinker will challenge popular opinion and consider the less popular options if they hold merit.
In reality, critical thinking is vital to any creativity, because we need to be able to realistically evaluate ideas and improve upon them if able.
It is true, the Internet is full of information to read, to discover, to stimulate your thinking.
To the critical thinker, Internet is a playground of possibilities. 🙂