is the mental process of analyzing or evaluating information. 'To
reason' is the capacity for rational thought, or to think logically.
Once you have established a solid foundation or a healthy self-concept,
it is important to be able to think critically, or to reason.
Everyone thinks; however, much of our thinking is reactive, biased,
uninformed and often prejudiced. More often than not, it is
also haphazard and undisciplined.
Why do we need to think critically?
In order to assess our role in, and the consequences of any actions
we take, we must be able to evaluate and determine what is taking
place in a given situation.
requires us to organize our thinking, integrate the information at
hand, distinguish between what is fact and what is opinion, and then
weigh potential outcomes.
By thinking critically, instead of reacting emotionally to a
problem, we employ strategies which:
Help us learn from an experience
Help prevent it from occurring again
Result in a reasonable, effective solution
The quality of life we experience is in direct proportion to the quality of our
Critical thinking is self-disciplined, self-monitored and problem
solving thinking. It promotes open-mindedness,
putting things in perspective,
and a positive attitude.
When we don't reason, or think critically, we subject
ourselves to fleeting, erratic or unpredictable emotions. Of course,
this does not mean we should deny or suppress our emotions, for
indeed, they are a vital and
significant element of who we are.
Instead, we must learn how to make them work for us, not against
Critical thinking helps us balance our emotions, which in turn
leads to good judgment and making informed,
For the most part, critical thinking does not come naturally. It takes
effort, training and practice.
As A. E. Mander wrote in his book Logic For the Millions:
"Thinking is skilled work. It is not true that we are naturally endowed
with the ability to think clearly and logically - without learning how,
or without practicing. People with untrained minds should no more
expect to think clearly and logically than people who have never
learned and never practiced can expect to find themselves good
carpenters, golfers, bridge players, or pianists."
Tips On Improving Critical Thinking
Play strategy games, sudoku and solve
more. Reading improves focus,
imagination and vocabulary which results in heightened
Engage in healthy debates in class or
with your friends. Argue both sides of an argument.
As Edward De
Bono, the lateral thinking
psychologist suggests, use the GBI technique, in which you
list the good, bad and interesting points of a position.
Look at a problem from as many viewpoints as