December 31, 2020 - Nafisa Naomi
As an avid reader of different blogs and articles, Cracked was one of the websites I used to frequent in my early twenties. One of the many articles which has played a big part in shaping my perception was called 6 Harsh Truths that will make you a better person. A part of that article describes the following situation:
Someone you love got shot and is lying on the street, bleeding and screaming in pain. A man rushes up to you and asks you to step aside. He squats to look over your loved one’s bullet wound and pulls out a pocket knife. He is preparing to operate on the wound right there. Feeling completely defeated and helpless, you ask him if he is a doctor. He tells you he isn’t. You are a little taken aback at this point and you ask, "But you know what you're doing, right? You're an old Army medic, or ..."
He says no and goes on to tell you that he is punctual, earns an honest living, and pays his taxes on time. He is a great son to his mother, lives a life full of rewarding hobbies, and does not use abusive language. Confused and frustrated you ask, “But how does any of that matter? Someone I love is lying here bleeding. I need someone who can operate on a gunshot wound. Can you do that or not?!”
This scenario struck a chord with me on many levels. At present, when the world is fighting to survive through a global pandemic, we need proactive doers who can innovate, take initiative, and get things done. This is why critical thinking is so relevant and important, especially in today’s world. Here is my take on why it's a skill that the currently ailing world needs.
It is the ultimate road to problem solving
During a crisis, your critical thinking skill will lead you to a solution to the problem. When a situation arises, especially one that requires a specific solution, it will not matter how good a Samaritan you have been all your life. The question boils down to whether you can solve the problem at hand or not. Your critical thinking ability allows you to see beyond what meets the eye, fully understand the situation at hand and act accordingly.
It makes you a better decision maker
In any given situation, specifically at the workplace, your position calls for making decisions which would impact others who work around you. A critical thinker is more likely to make a sound, well-rounded decision where everyone can make the best out of a situation or be able to minimize any negative impact on others during a crisis.
It encourages curiosity
As an adult, a child who never stops asking questions, no matter how mundane or silly, has always been my favorite. A critical thinker is always curious and will always ask questions because that will lead them to change from how they are to how they should be and beyond. Critical thinkers are also hardwired to find solutions to existing problems.
It ensures that your opinions are well-informed
It is said, test takers who end up with a P on the Myers’ Briggs 16 personalities test are more on the perceiving side. They usually stay open to the possibility that they might stumble upon any piece of information that may change the course of forming an opinion. This helps them to form better, more informed opinions.
Critical thinking improves relationships
Critical thinking strongly fosters the nurture and growth of a core human trait—empathy. Empathy is the most vital ingredient to understanding the people around you and the environment you are in. This aspect of critical thinking allows you to empathize with others and to understand what drives them. It thereby helps you form healthier, more fulfilling relationships.
It fosters independence
Critical thinkers rely on their conscience for self-reflection and correction. This means that they are not easily swayed by external influences- something which makes them accountable and responsible individuals. A critical thinker is more likely to show higher mental and emotional stability because the person is inclined towards paving his own path through hurdles, making mistakes, learning from them, and making necessary corrections completely on their own.
It’s a life skill
Educators all over the world believe that critical thinking is something that anyone should learn as early as their formative years and continue to practice all their lives. It is not something that you learn from a specific textbook or within the walls of a classroom. It is a skill you exercise, a muscle you grow, and continue to grow throughout your life. BYLCx offers a course on critical thinking but needless to say, your learning of the skill does not end with the course. It needs to be honed and exercised in the real world which needs proactive doers, problem solvers, go getters.