5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Critical Thinking Abilities

Remember as a kid when the biggest decision you made was whether to buy that Dairy Milk or that packet of Lays’ with your ten-rupee budget?

From childhood to adulthood – and even right now – we continually create descriptive plans of how to optimum use of the limited money or the precious time that we have.

Did you know that the basic act of doing this is the process of critical thinking?

To break down the Jenga, critical thinking is simply the aggregate of those skills that empower you to think, observe and interpret anything that you sense (see, hear, smell, feel or taste).

Like for instance, when you push off your copy-writing assignment till an hour before the deadline (we do not advise this!), makes you utilise your critical thinking skills to get it done within that time constraint. 

Just like Rome wasn’t built in a single day, for you to foster these skills, you need to be in a steady tortoise race. 

So the question now arises, how do you develop your critical thinking skills?

Five Point Guide to enhancing your critical thinking:

1. All you got is 24 hours

Whether it be Bill Gates, Narendra Modi, Stephen Hawking or You, all of us have the same 24 hours a day. It is essential to channelise your day and decide how and what you will address every day. 

“Time isn’t the main thing, it’s the only thing.”

– Miles Davis

Along with making you more productive, this also improves your decision-making skills as you’d have to prioritise one activity over another or decide how to fit both into your tight schedule. 

2. Get more Inquisitive

Increasing your curiosity and questioning things around you not only gives you more information but also gives you a lot of perspectives you couldn’t have imagined earlier. 

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A simple trick is to find a statement and cover at least the 4 W’s and an H (How, What, Why When, Who)

For instance, while watching an American TV show, it says “Its 125 degrees outside; we’re burning!”.  You can ask:

  • How can the temperature be 125 degrees?!
  • Why does America still follow the Imperial system?
  • What other countries use Fahrenheit to measure temperature? And so on…

3. Experiment and Experience

Let’s say back in the fifth grade you had to learn the concept of volume and pressure. Would you understand better if you read: a monochrome text print or conducted an activity blowing a balloon?

Experiential learning taps into zones that theoretical or rote learning fails to. It gives the untapped potentials of the mind a chance to shine.

 It is a pot pourri of cognitive, critical-thinking and academic skills. 

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Subscribing to ThinkTac’s Activities is a really good way to hone your experiential learning abilities. And if you think you got it in you to create crazy experiments, get yourself enrolled on this Raman Young Student Innovator Award!

By doing so, you learn and experience something new every day. And in today’s world experience is money.

4. Just One Case a Day

Recently, I was reading this debate about why we study history still, and one of the reasons is so that we learn from it and do not make the same mistakes our predecessors did.

Case Study is one of the best ways to do that. The best way to study cases is – 

  • Step 1: Read up the problems in the cases.
  • Step 2: Think of how you would overcome those problems
  • Step 3: Tally your solutions with what solutions were really made
  • Step 4: Repeat and get better. 

5. Keep Changing Your Shoes

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All of our judgements are impaired by a lot of biases. However, the one way to make the best considered decision would be to think about it from another person’s shoes. 

This gives you a perspective different from your own. And now you can weigh the pros and cons of both and conclude what the best logical decision will be.

I will now leave you with this Ted-Ed video by Samantha Agoos. Do watch it. 

See you on the other side of critical thinking!

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