Applying Critical Thinking Skills

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Being a more critical thinker requires us to contemplate the possibility that we may be wrong or are acting in our own self-interest rather than the good of others or of the company we work for.

Two prominent authors and instructors in the field of critical thinking development, Richard Paul and Linda Elder, say that feelings of irritation and resentment during the workday can actually be signs of egocentric thinking.

Making an immediate effort to understand the opposing point of view can help keep you from becoming defensive and escalating the disagreement.

The compassionate approach won’t necessarily lead to complete harmony, but an open mind allows you to examine all the information and, hopefully, find common ground.

When someone is speaking to us, we are often more focused on what we’re going to say in response than in carefully listening to everything they’re sharing.

We miss important details and don’t take the time to consider or fully comprehend their point of view.

Considering how a ‘rational’ person (think Mr Spock from ) might have reacted to the same situation can help you understand how your own emotions or bias affected your actions.

Those same emotions can also affect your interpretation of others’ actions.

It’s the ability to look at issues objectively and effectively, without letting bias or emotions cloud your judgement.

It’s not an easy task, but critical thinking improves your communication with others, helps you solve problems in the best interests of everyone involved, and allows you to see a clearer path to success and advancement in your career.

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