A Portrait of the Critical and Not-So-Critical Thinkers

Strong critical thinkers are more effective in life. They are able to approach situations in ways that make more sense and are able to be defended logically. They are less prone to being caught into behaving in ways that are impulsive or incorrect, and because of that, it is imperative that you learn to be a critical thinker.

The critical thinker is going to find that getting through life is simply easier—it is everywhere in life. The ability to think critically is necessary in so many situations around you, from how likely you are to succeed in a job that is quite technical and mathematical to how likely it is that you will be able to have a happy and successful relationship. Let’s stop and take a look at some of the most notable traits of both a critical and not-so-critical individual to see the real difference between the two.  

The Critical Thinker’s Portrait 

When you develop your ability to think critically, you see a boost in all sorts of characteristics that can make you more desirable socially. You will become someone that more people want to be around, and more emotionally intelligent—one of those buzzwords in today’s society that means that you get along with people better and are better able to manage your relationships and interactions with other people thanks to your ability to understand and control yourself and your own emotional states. This is all due to a culmination of several other traits, such as: 


The critical thinker is inquisitive—they are constantly willing to ask questions and understand the world around them. They are driven by their desire to understand others better and will make it a point to learn about several different issues in the world in order to have a clear understanding of how they impact others. 

Attentive to Times Where Critical Thinking Is Necessary 

The critical thinker is well aware of the strength of his or her abilities and is constantly on the lookout for situations in which critical thinking is necessary and warranted. Whenever it feels like critical thinking could be relevant, it is used, even if it seems like there may be an easier, simpler solution. 


Because the critical thinker is aware of his or her abilities, there is confidence developed. The critical thinker is confident that he or she is able to reason and trusts that it will be done when it is necessary.  


The critical thinker is willing to recognize that world viewpoints are different, and that is okay—they are willing to entertain other opinions and assertions, giving them the same benefit of the doubt that they would give to others. 


The critical thinker is aware of the fact that flexibility is needed sometimes, especially when considering opposing viewpoints or viewpoints that do not align with their own personal beliefs in the first place. They are willing to think about those difficult issues with the attention they deserve and will not shut down when presented with a viewpoint that does not align with their current one, and they are able to roll with the flow when something goes wrong and needs to be changed accordingly. 


The critical thinker is well aware of what is likely to happen in the future in order to begin anticipating anything that may happen as a result. These people are usually closely watching politics and political tension in order to figure out what to expect around them.  

Understanding Other People’s Opinions 

The critical thinker is likely to listen to what other people think, even if they disagree with those beliefs, or they feel like they are irrelevant or unimportant. They will make it a point to listen and understand the other person’s opinion rather than immediately dismiss it as illegitimate. 

Fair in Appraising Reasoning 

The critical thinker will not unfairly judge other people’s approaches to their own reasoning—they will make it a point to give every argument a fair judgment. An argument will not be dismissed for not aligning with the critical thinker’s own personal opinions.  


The critical thinker is able to understand his or her own biases and prejudices, and in being honest about those biases and prejudices, he or she is able to correct for them, so they do not become problematic in the first place. This is an ability to self-control and self-regulate. 

Understanding When to Stop, Make, and Alter Judgments 

The critical thinker is able to understand when it is appropriate to stop attempting to make a judgment, to make one, or to change one, based on feedback and understandings of the situation. 

Willingness to Reconsider and Revisit Viewpoints When Change Is Necessary 

The critical thinker is able to recognize when it is important to reconsider what he or she was thinking about a situation in order to alter a viewpoint if it has since come to light that the viewpoint made was something negative or not able to be validated in some way, shape, or form. 

The Not-So-Critical Thinker’s Portrait 

The not-so-critical thinker is someone unable to manage thinking critically on a regular basis. This can result in someone who is largely considered biased or judgmental, such as someone who is unwilling or able to accept the judgment that someone else is passing on them or someone who simply sees no reason to think critically about a situation. These people may struggle in their relationships and careers, as it is much harder to find a job that will literally never require some sort of higher-level thinking skills. Nevertheless, let’s stop and look at some common characteristics of the not-so-critical thinkers. 

Pretentious and Unable to Accurately Self-Analyze 

Someone struggling to think critically is likely to be quite pretentious—they may say that they know or understand out of embarrassment rather than admit the truth, and they are frequently unaware of their own weaknesses or limitations. 


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