Being students we process tons and tons of new information every day. But not all information is similarly useful to us, therefore, it is impossible to take everything on trust.
To learn how to sort the wheat from the chaff and to get maximum benefit from the gained knowledge, students need to develop skills of critical thinking. The ability critically defines the person as a mature and ready to adulthood, and university or college is a perfect place to become such a personality.
If you think that the term “critical” sounds negative, you are right in some sense because instead of choosing what seems to be simple, a person using critical thinking researches all possible options and conducts a careful and skeptical analysis. This analysis eliminates everything, except the most useful and reliable information.
Here are five steps that will help you to take proper decisions.
1. Stay in the reality
Our thinking can be efficient as much as possible if it is based on reality. Reality is objective and independent of your desires, wishes, and goals. Your intellection will be productive as long as you are able to perceive and interpret this reality accurately. This requires objectivity – the ability to share the notion of what do you have at the moment, from what you want to have or what you believe in.
2. Avoid ambiguity
Do not tolerate a constant and unproductive ambiguity. Most of the solutions you are dealing with contain a certain amount of ambiguity, a gray area between the obvious black and white alternatives. This is not an argument in defense of uncertainty. It is recommended to train the power of thought for the development of clarity. Ambiguity is a symptom of negligence, insufficient or irrational thinking. When you experience this condition, you should carefully study your surroundings, your principles, knowledge and the effectiveness of your thinking. Learning is an endless search for clarity. To develop the clarity in your thoughts, you may write your critical essay, read different sources and track your manner to speak.
3. Develop curiosity
The world is full of things you do not know yet. Curiosity is a sign of the mind, free and open to the perception of the wonders of reality, not afraid to face the unknown and to gain new knowledge. A curious thinker will learn new ways of looking at things differently and act differently. Learning can be an adventure that involves constant and exciting discoveries if you aspire to curiosity.
4. Resist emotions
Emotions can confuse the mind. When you get angry or elated, your thinking processes will not work the same as when you are in a more relaxed mood. Beware of situations in which flattery, fear or admiration deliberately provoke your emotions at a time when you need to make a decision. This can be a special strategy aimed at falsifying the result.
5. Proove the facts
If you do not have reliable facts, then your decisions are likely to be misrepresented. You should try to get the first-hand information. Do not believe in stereotypes that can bear only part of the truthful information. Does this information come from a reliable source? Can you find another source to confirm this information? If you can answer yes to these questions, then you can be more confident in the facts that are used as the basis for making your decisions.
Learn to take your decisions based on facts but not emotions. This skill will allow you to feel confident in any situation.