Have you ever given a thought about your thinking; about what influences your thinking; and about what influences you to make decisions? How do you solve problems?
As Richard Paul said — “critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you're thinking in order to make your thinking better.” Does this even make sense to you?
Discovering Your Thinking
How do I know if I am a critical thinker? It’s simple! You just have to ask yourself the question, “Do I make the best decisions that would solve my problems effectively?”
When I say effectively, it should meet the following criteria:
My decisions bring positive long-term outcomes;
My decisions are data-driven. It is a result of carefully analyzing facts; and
My decisions solve underlying problems that caused other problems.
You may or may not pass these criteria but you can always choose to improve your thinking skills. Are you ready for the challenge of achieving breakthroughs in your thinking?
Realizing My Default Thinking
Before you can even change the way you think, you need to discover your default thinking. Default is your automatic thought response when making a decision or solving a problem.
What are the usual default thinking that people commit when solving a problem or making decisions?
Band-Aid Solutions: People will usually give temporary solutions to a pressing problem without even thinking if this is actually the result of an underlying problem. For example, when you have a headache, do you immediately drink medicine without consulting a doctor first? Your headache might be normal but if the pain continues to persist over time, then this might be a cause of an even bigger issue.
Taking Facts as Gospel Truth: Gospel truth is any idea that is taken as absolutely true. For instance, have you ever heard a story from your closed friend or family member only to find out that this story is actually inaccurate? Have we ever stopped and reflected to check if these stories truly transpired? Or are these just a result of mere speculation? After all, it might just be a gossip and not gospel truth.
Can you relate to these two default thinking? Have you ever committed this once in your life? If you did, fret not because you can improve by applying the breakthrough thinking strategies.
Breakthrough Thinking Strategies
You may already have your own way of solving a problem effectively but you may still incorporate these two strategies in your process:
Knowing the Real Score
Knowing the real score means gathering the right facts to a problem (since not all given information is true). A Breakthrough Thinker acts like an investigator who continuously asks the right questions to all people involved in a crime scene. He doesn’t rely on his own gut. He always tests the truthfulness of the witnesses’ testimonies. As an investigator, he knows that not all people will tell the truth. Some people might tell pieces of evidence or even cover up the truth because they are afraid to be involved in the situation. This is the reason why a Breakthrough Thinker corroborates the testimonies and crime evidence to check its consistency, validity and reliability.
Discovering the Core Problem
After knowing the real score or the right information, the Breakthrough Thinker conducts root cause analysis to discover what the core problem is. Let’s apply this strategy to the crime scene: the investigator might already have found out who the killer is but he must ask why the suspect murdered the victim? Probably because the killer is a drug addict or the suspect just acted in self-defense. Why did the suspect act in self-defense? It might be because he is trying to protect himself from being raped. In this situation, the Breakthrough Thinker continuously probes and asks the “why-question” until he discovers what the real problem is. We should always remember to continue the investigation even after finding out who's at fault. We should always know what is the reason behind it in order to give the right solution to the problem.
Developing your critical thinking skills is not an easy job. It’s a lifetime endeavor that requires you to always ask questions and continuously test your ideas or other people’s insights if these are actually valid and reliable. As you journey towards seeking the truth, let us always remember to take charge of our own thinking and always think about our thinking.
(Note: Do you want to learn more about how to achieve breakthroughs in your thinking? Harness your problem solving skills through the Breakthrough Thinking Workshop that Breakthrough Management & Leadership Consultancy offers.).
Boris Joaquin is the president and CEO of Breakthrough Leadership Management Consultancy, Inc. He is also the founder of the Project Purpose Team, Inc, a corporate educator under the Duke CE Global Educators Network (UK), and a registered Investors in People (UK) specialist. A management and marketing professional, Boris was involved in various industries both local and international for more than two decades. He recently received the 2020 Gawad Sulo Award for his work as a corporate educator. This award is only given to a select few who have significantly contributed in the field of education.
You may be able to contact Boris at (+63) 917 512 6392 or email email@example.com.