Five Tips to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills
1) Stop and stand for one minute
The first step in The Jeremiah Method is to stand. This one little word has been a challenge throughout my life, and I am finding it’s true for several of the clients I coach. It takes focus and discipline to stop what you’re doing and take a moment to think before you act. One clear obstruction I daily face is the culture and century in which I live. Distraction, noise, opinion, and chaos is all around me. Some of it is pure fun, like sports, for example, but a lot of my interruptions come from choices in technology and lifestyle. I must stop, stand, and quiet the noise in order to improve my critical thinking skills.
2) Don’t expect perfection.
Forget about thinking critically through every choice you encounter each day. This is where many people get tripped up. Instead of saving the intensity of wise decision making for the board room they waste precious energy over whether to eat eggs or oatmeal for breakfast. Relax on the less pressing decisions.
3) Take ownership of your biggest weaknesses.
Maybe you’re someone who nails the critical thinking skill on the job. You are reliable and proficient in this area at work, but your home life is a disaster. Maybe health is an area where you are impulsive and to stand in the kitchen and consider your food choice is the area you need to work on. Lose the perfection, take ownership, and make small daily choices to critically think through that area of weakness.
4) Ask open-ended questions.
As you consider choice and decision making it’s easy to visualize two paths–the notorious fork in the road. Should I eat the snack or wait for dinner? Instead, try a different approach. How hungry am I, really? This is not an if/or question, but an invitation to check in with yourself and evaluate what you are really feeling.
5) Apply the choice to your determined end goals.
Of course, you have to know what those end goals are! Do you? Start there. Determine them concisely in your thinking mind, then you will have more success in the application aspect of this tip. What are you daily, monthly, yearly goals? If you waffle in this area then application means nothing because there is nothing to apply the decision toward. But when your goals are clearly defined, the application part is much easier.