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Wellness

What Is Critical Thinking And Why Is It Important?

5 Mins read
Table of Contents
1. What Exactly is Critical Thinking?
2. The Importance of Critical Thinking
3, What are the Qualities of Critical Thinkers?

Critical thinking is a skill that is vital in order to make conscious, well-informed decisions. The decisions you make in the present will impact the quality of your life in the future. If you want to make sure you live your best life, you must put critical thinking at the forefront of everything you do. 

Studies indicate that critical thinkers are happier and much more content with their lives. This satisfaction stems from a deeper understanding of the self. Critical thinkers are great at self-reflection, and they understand their aspirations and motivators. In addition, critical thinkers can process information better and analyze everything that happens, allowing them to grasp the most important lessons and apply them to their life. 

Critical thinking is a skill that prevents you from being stagnant or stuck in life. Instead, you can stay proactive in changing any situation and promoting personal growth. All of these elements combined will truly increase your overall satisfaction and happiness in all aspects of your life. Below is a detailed overview of critical thinking, and why it’s important:

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What Exactly is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking has been a buzzword for decades. In fact, many types of research indicate that the art of critical thinking is rooted in the teachings of famous philosophers, Socrates and Plato. Though exact definitions may have changed through the years, most experts will agree that the term ‘critical thinking’ typically refers to reflective thinking before deciding to act. You’re not one of the sheep following the herd or mindlessly going through the motions – you’re a critical thinker.

It can be quite challenging to define critical thinking because many people associate the word “critical” with negative connotations. After all, no one likes to be criticized and people generally dislike fault finding. However, critical thinking is anything but that, though the concept itself is rather complex when applied to everyday living.

Some would say critical thinking is the process of analyzing information to formulate a sound judgement. Simply put, it is the act of thinking about thinking. You explore all avenues and every side of what you encounter before formulating a conclusion. You challenge yourself and your own thoughts when you’re a critical thinker.

The Importance of Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is important in our society because it is a universal concept that applies to anyone, regardless of race, culture, economic status, or religion. Moreover, our future hinges on critical thinking, because societies and economies need it to solve problems effectively and efficiently. Below are some compelling reasons why it is vital to have critical thinking skills:

Achieve Peace of Mind

Critical thinkers generally express themselves well, because they can think clearly and systematically about any issue in front of them. They break down messages that they see and understand what is conveyed clearly, preventing miscommunication and misunderstandings. 

Besides, this provides people with tools to self-reflect and evaluate what they need to do. When you can live life with peace of mind, you can:

  • Reduce daily stress 
  • Minimize conflicts in your relationships
  • Become calmer
  • Have a happier existence 

Remember, living with stress can make you sick. It impacts your immune system negatively, making you more susceptible to bacteria and viruses. Besides, lower immunity means leaving your body vulnerable to chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. You can avoid all that by practising critical thinking, leading to a peaceful and happier existence. 

Helps with Decision Making

Those who practice critical thinking do not only solve problems efficiently. Instead, they analyze ideas and come up with creative ways and alternative solutions. With a critical thinking mind, you can always adjust to any situation, whether with your family or work. As a result, you can make better choices for yourself and your family. 

If you exercise critical thinking, you can readily deal with issues that come your way. And with consistent practice, your thought process is already done on the subconscious level, meaning you instinctually follow things because you are in tune with your mind and have a deep understanding of why you think the way you do. With critical thinking, you are happier with outcomes because:

  • You understand yourself better
  • You focus on strengths
  • You avoid negative and limiting beliefs
  • You share your thoughts with others
  • You listen to what others say as well

All of these elements combined equate to sound decisions that you will not live to regret. 

Improves Relationships

Again, remember that being critical is different from critical thinking. Exercising the latter will promote harmonious relationships may it be in your family, work, or community. Why? By thinking critically, you willingly understand the perspectives of others. You do not impose your thoughts on them, but you are more open-minded towards varying opinions and views. 

For example, critical thinking can stop you from saying hurtful words during an argument. A sound mind can also help you stay calm and collected amid adversity. As a result, you have a clear head that propels you to make the right choices that promote harmony and cultivate relationships for the better. In contrast, the lack of critical thinking is counterproductive, resulting in confusion, stress, and sadness.  

Filters Out Noise

Since the advent of the digital revolution, there has been no shortage of information coming from everywhere. This includes fake news, historical revisionism, and outright wrongful information. All of these digital “noises” can make anyone feel confused. 

And this is precisely why you must exercise critical thinking even more. You ought to look at all sides of the story before you decide what to believe in. With critical thinking, you can do the following:

  • Analyze information
  • Evaluate all sources
  • Challenge all opinions
  • Adopt different perspectives
  • Ensure opinions are grounded on facts
  • Prevent information overload

Critical Thinking Fosters Career Success

All career paths desire a critical thinker. In fact, HR reps want you to fill in their job posts if you think critically. This kind of level-headedness is not just for scientists but also for lawyers, doctors, journalists, engineers, teachers, accountants, and more. In every single profession, you must think critically.

According to the World Economic Forum, the most desirable skill to have in the workplace is critical thinking. This skill helps you:

  • Analyze information
  • Solve problems with creative solutions
  • Make systematic plans
  • Think outside the box

Promotes a Good and Orderly Society

Critical thinking is one of the bastions of democracy. As former POTUS Thomas Jefferson once said: “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people!” Without this, everyone can readily succumb to manipulation and propaganda. 

For society to effectively function, everyone must use their knowledge to assess different information and situations. Critical thinkers make good citizens because they can see the big picture without clouding their judgements with biases. 

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What are the Qualities of Critical Thinkers?

Critical thinkers consider multiple sides of an issue or topic before making their judgment. They ask questions about what they see or hear instead of blindly accepting the information they are given. Critical thinking skills typically ensure you are not biased. 

On top of that, critical thinkers dig deeper and don’t accept everything at face value. They use logic, questioning, and verification of information before crafting their conclusions. Therefore, critical thinkers exhibit the following qualities:

  • Always curious about various perspectives
  • Constantly challenging and asking questions, wanting to know more
  • Highly creative because they see limitless possibilities
  • Great problem solvers because they consider all angles of the problem
  • Exhibit high independence since they are confident in their choices

Just like you exercise your muscles at the gym, you must exercise your mind to make it stronger. You must be mindful in practising critical thinking because many other skills hinge on it, like patience in solving problems, staying logical amidst a crisis, making decisions, or even staying open-minded to divergent ideas. 

Critical thinking improves your life because learning, analyzing, and acquiring knowledge is a lifelong process that doesn’t stop at school. As a critical thinker, you’ll also be trusted by your peers much more. However, if you truly want peace of mind, you should also be on top of your overall health, because good health is the true measure of wealth. Try CircleDNA to get a DNA test that gives you insight into your brain health and physical health. Knowledge is power.

Team CircleDNA
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The editorial team behind CircleMagazine, dedicated to bringing you bite-size health tips, real-life health stories and the latest genetic-related findings at this digital health hub.
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