The Building Blocks of Critical Thinking

For decades, decision making has been bilateral in nature, in that it was either ‘black’ or ‘white’. This means that decision makers would staunchly believe that something was right or wrong. Modern times have introduced a new angle to decision making, one that takes into consideration the fact that there could be several shades of grey. Arriving at these shades of grey is not simple, as a certain amount of logic, relevance and analysis is considered. At the core of the process is critical thinking.

There are many ways one can define critical thinking. Some say that it is the process that begins with the conceptualization and application of information. This goes on to analysis and evaluation of said information, and from this, a belief is formed or an action taken. To get the information, one needs to observe what is happening around them, relate this to a specific experience, reflect on the outcome and communicate their final decision. Critical thinking can be applied to a host of the subject matter.

Another definition states that critical thinking requires certain skills including honesty, rationality, open-mindedness, discipline, self-awareness and judgement. With all these in mind, it becomes possible to analyze data in order to arrive at a conclusion.

One more definition refers to critical thinking as a way of expanding the way one thinks, in a bid to improve the quality of their thoughts. This calls for considering a subject or an issue and then analyzing and assessing it, using self-motivation and self-discipline. The result of critical thinking is the ability to see things from various points of view and have a clear and precise solution to problems, as well as being able to communicate these solutions effectively to other people.

These are just some of the definitions that exist for critical thinking, though they do have some things in common. To begin with, one must see things differently, looking at them in more detail before making a decision. This requires the information that is available to be deeply analyzed and researched, and once all the information has been considered, it becomes possible to take action. Critical thinking thus is the best way that one can arrive at an informed decision.


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