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8 ways to improve your critical thinking skills

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How many times have you been in a situation where you had to make an important decision, and you were unsure what the best option was? This has probably happened quite often. The good news is that there are things that we can do to improve our critical thinking skills so that these situations will be less common. Here are some ways to sharpen your mind so you’ll always know how to make the right choice.

Read Widely

One of the best ways to improve your critical thinking skills is by reading widely. When you read various types of books, magazines, and articles, your thoughts are stimulated and will help increase your comprehension.

You also meet with new concepts that you might not have previously encountered. This can be beneficial for academic writing, say an argumentative essay outline, for example. Different authors portray unique points of view and perspectives on the same topic, and reading widely will help you come up with effective arguments and structure for your paper.

Look for New Experiences

In today’s busy world, it’s challenging to find new experiences. Yet, a new adventure can be as simple as reading a book you wouldn’t usually read. Maybe your usual preference is science fiction, but the latest bestseller in the children’s section sounds good to you.

Another way is through travel and meeting people from different cultures. These are great ways of getting your mind to open up to other possibilities. Experiencing new things can lead to insights that will help solve problems or come up with creative ideas.

Be Open-Minded

People hold differing opinions about what’s right and what’s wrong, but we should be open-minded to accept that others think differently. This is evident with the ideas communicated by students in the gun control essay.

Appreciating another individual’s idea, whether you feel they are right or wrong, is an integral part of critical thinking. Critical thinkers attempt to understand and be tolerant of different perspectives by imagining themselves in others’ positions. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them; it just means trying to see things from their point of view before making a judgment.

Challenge Questionable Beliefs

Our beliefs are largely shaped by our elders. These beliefs may have been good enough for them but not necessarily the best for you. Critical thinkers are willing to challenge their inherited, questionable beliefs to understand better what is true for themselves.

For instance, if cultural barriers limit a particular gender from choosing specific jobs, why not reevaluate the reason behind those limitations? This way, you can challenge your inherited beliefs and start finding new ones that promote growth.

Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the most underestimated ways to improve your critical thinking skills. But it’s an excellent way to find a better understanding of what you are reading, listening to, or seeing. For instance, you may ask your teacher for clues on finding informative essay topics if you struggle with ideas.

You’ll be surprised at how many new findings you make once you get into the habit of asking questions. Apart from being a great way to promote critical thinking skills, it is also a valuable interactive tool.

Listen Actively

Learning to listen and see beyond the words is an essential skill in any form of communication. And we are all guilty of tuning out sometimes, even when it’s not intentional. So, try a little harder to listen actively by following these steps:

  • stop what you’re doing and prepare for listening;
  • listen with your full attention;
  • reflect on the speaker’s words;
  • listen without judging.

Once you are a good listener, the chances are that you will make informed decisions based on what you have heard. But it’s important to remember that listening without judging is an admirable skill in itself.

Leave Out Assumptions

We are all guilty of making assumptions from time to time. However, they are often based on our perception and may not represent the truth. So, it’s worth making an effort to leave out your assumptions when listening and try not to jump straight to conclusions.

Critical thinkers understand the importance of establishing facts before coming up with an opinion. If more people learned to avoid making assumptions, then there would have been less conflict in the world. This is because when you make an assumption, it can lead to a false conclusion and miscommunication.

When people are too busy coming up with their beliefs and then defending them, they may stop listening altogether or not hear what the other person is saying.

Critical thinkers also know that conclusions should be reached after all of the facts have been established.

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