How to Improve Your Critical Thinking

If, like me, you’re looking for ways to improve your critical thinking and problem solving ability, Helen Lee Bouygues, founder of the Reboot Foundation, on the latest episode of HBR’s Ideacast, presents 3 Simple Habits to Improve Your Critical Thinking:

  1. Question assumptions
  2. Reason through logic
  3. Diversify thought

TED-ed describes a similar five-step process:

…which Patrick Allan elaborates on here:

  1. Formulate your question: Know what you’re looking for specifically. Break things down to their base level.
  2. Gather your information: Now that you know what’s relevant to your problem or decision, research it. Reach out to an expert, read up on the subject, or talk to people who have experience with the same subject matter.
  3. Apply the information and ask critical questions: What concepts are at work? What assumptions exist? Is your interpretation of the information logically sound?
  4. Consider the implications: Look beyond the short-term and think about how your decision will shape things in the long-term. Something that will benefit you now may not benefit you in the future. What’s at stake? What can go wrong?
  5. Explore other points of view: By understanding other perspectives, you learn more about the subject. You’re also given an opportunity to reflect on the information you have and how you feel.

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