What is Critical Thinking?
While making your academic assignments or thesis, you are required to do some research and analyze various things, or for making a career decision or any other decision you are required to think of all pros and cons of that decision. Well, the most important thing that helps us to effectively take these decisions is what we call critical thinking. Critical thinking is very important in both personal and professional life. The process of critical thinking involves the analysis of the various facts and figures in a particular situation before straightaway acting on that situation. Critical thinking demands keen observation, creativity, problem-solving skills, which helps the individual to thoroughly evaluate the gathered information and then use this available information as a guide to making accurate decisions. From doing academic works or regular activities to solving various large scale problems, critical thinking is required in everyday life. In this article, we will learn about some real-life examples where critical thinking plays an important role.
Critical Thinking Examples in Real Life
1. Critical Thinking in Problem Solving
Suppose your manager asks you to find an effective solution to a problem that is affecting the business. What would be your first step? Like most people, you may also start looking for potential solutions to deal with that situation. Well, one requires the use of critical thinking here. Before looking for the solution one needs to take a step back and try to understand the cause of the problem first. One should ask for the opinions of the other people that how does this particular problem impact them and the overall business. If you arrive at a solution, you should not only just rely on one solution, instead, you should always have various backup plans in case the first solution does not work as expected. Most people feel that they are great at problem-solving, but if one is not following all these above discussed steps before making a final judgement, he/she is not a critical thinker. Critical thinking allows people to find the best possible solution to any problem. Critical thinking is an important factor of problem-solving skills, one needs to look at any situation from multiple perspectives because in some cases, your decisions not only impact you but also the people in your surrounding.
2. Critical Thinking in Analysing Risks
Risk assessment is another important factor, which requires the use of critical thinking. Risk assessment is required in various sectors, from children analysing the impact of eating junk food on their health to large businesses in analysing the impact of certain policies on the growth of the company. Let us understand the implication of critical thinking in analysing the risks with some examples.
- While constructing a building, the engineers need to evaluate all the potential risks or hazards that could occur on the construction site to make sure that the workers can do their work safely. If the engineers or the project managers do not use critical thinking for analysing the potential risks, the chance of injuries or deaths of the workers is high, which may negatively impact the workforce and the reputation of the project managers.
- Before implementing certain rules or regulations, the government has to understand the various aspects such as the impact on people and the economy of the country due to that decisions. Decisions that may seem easier on paper may be a lot more difficult to implement in the real world and may lead to bad consequences if critical thinking is not used.
- In the financial sector, the authorities have to assess the influence of the current or the newly implemented policies on the clients. This requires various skills of critical thinking such as creativity to imagine the various scenarios that may arise, analysis of different laws and policies, and evaluating the responses of the existing clients to formulate better policies. If the banks or the insurance companies do not use critical thinking, this may result in huge losses.
3. Critical Thinking in Data Analysis
Whether analysing the performance of the children in the schools or analysing the business growth of a multi-national company, the skill of data analysis is very crucial. In today’s era, almost every sector demands experts that can accurately evaluate the available data or information and draw out effective conclusions from it. With the rise in technology, the various tasks of the data analysis such as finding profit and loss, creating balance sheets, and issuing invoices are done with the help of various software, but it does not mean that human skill is not required. Various kinds of software can just convert a large amount of data into some simpler and readable format, but it is the critical thinking of the humans that is required to effectively interpret the data and apply the obtained insight for the benefits. The data analysis can even help us to estimate the future trends and potential risks of taking any decisions.
4. Critical Thinking in Hiring Employees
The ability to objectively view any situation without getting influenced by your personal beliefs or thoughts is one of the important characteristics of critical thinking. In business, the hiring managers require critical thinking to evaluate a large number of resume’s to choose the suitable candidates for the required position. Critical thinking here enables the hiring managers not to hire a candidate on the basis of various factors like gender, age, religion or country, these factors may influence the hiring managers unconsciously. The hiring manager may tend to choose the candidate on his/her subjective beliefs if he/she does not use critical thinking. Hence, critical thinking can help HR’s to hire the best employees that may eventually lead to the growth of the company.
5. Promoting the Teamwork
In a team, every individual is unique and has his/her different ideas to tackle the proposed problem. It is the responsibility of the team leader to understand the perspective of each member and encourage them to work collectively to solve the common problem. You may find the opinion of the other members of your team as ineffective, but instead of straightway denying their opinions one should logically analyse their suggestions and try to put your point of view regarding the problem in an effective and calm manner. If the team leader does not use critical thinking, instead, he/she boost his/her opinions on others, the team is sure to collapse.
6. Critical Thinking in Self-Evaluation
Critical thinking plays a major role in self-evaluation. The knowledge of critical thinking skills allows you to accurately analyse your performance by controlling various subjective biases. People should always evaluate their reactions towards any situation and the way they think, this may help them to get a deep insight into their thought processes, hence improving their thinking abilities to take accurate decisions. Self-evaluation is very important in professional life too. Suppose your manager has set a new target for the company. Every employee is thus required to analyse his/her contribution to the company and try to accomplish the set target. If you know your contribution to the company, it will help you to analyse your performance, and you can try to improve your performance in the areas where you lag.
7. Critical Thinking in Choosing the Career
Almost all of us face various dilemmas in our lives such as choosing the stream, the type of job, choosing between the regular college degree or the online programme. Whatever you choose, every option has its pros and cons. However, critical thinking allows us to accurately weigh the positives and negatives of each option and choose the one that offers more benefits than drawbacks. The best way to do this is to make a list of the pros and the cons and then analyse. Well, this is not just limited to choosing the career path, it can be used in other situations also such as professionally, and financially. One can list the pros and cons of selecting to work in a specific company or choosing the right insurance plan. It is often seen that our choices are greatly influenced by the choices of our friends or known, but one should understand that every individual’s beliefs, desires, and ambitions are different so, if the particular carrear or job is best for the others it does not mean that it would be the best option for you also. Hence, to choose the right carrear path, one requires critical thinking.
8. Critical Thinking in Time Management
Time is the most valuable asset that we have, hence utilizing it appropriately is very crucial. Critical thinking in time management helps you to wisely plan your schedule according to the importance of the particular task or the activity. For example, if the task to which you devote most of your time, is not giving you much return then you need to reconsider your schedule and should devote more time to the tasks that give you high returns.
9. Critical Thinking in Analysing the Fake News
Suppose, one of your friends shares a piece of news with you. Do you bother to analyse that whether this piece of news is real or not? Many of us just believe in the news and shares this with others too without thinking that this can be fake news too. A study conducted by Stanford University showed that around 82 per cent of the teenagers failed to distinguish between the real news and the advertisement with the ‘sponsored content’ label. This problem arises because the standard education curriculum does not emphasise much on critical thinking skills much because of the assumption that critical thinking is inbuilt in every person. By introducing certain lessons or activities that may help to increase the knowledge or overall thinking skills, the critical thinking of the children can be improved. Well, it is also seen that not only children, but adults also fall for these fake news and articles that circulate on various social media platforms. Before believing any piece of information, one should think of various questions like the source of the publication, the intention of the article, the author of the article, and the agenda behind the article. Critical thinking helps us to precisely evaluate any information before straightway believing it.
10. Critical Thinking in Distinguishing between Right and Wrong
Most people, especially teenagers are very much conscious about what their friends or relatives think of their behaviour. You may have had been through the situation, wherein if your friends think that certain behaviour is cool then you start acting in that way to fit in your friend’s circle without even considering that what you are doing is good or bad, and is your actions are related to your beliefs or not? One should understand that if a certain behaviour seems cool to some people, it may also seem bad to some others. One should not change his/her actions depending upon the approval of certain people, rather one should look at the broader aspect and should deeply analyse that whether their actions are morally right or wrong.
11. Critical Thinking in Decoding Fashion Trends
Nowadays, some people are so crazy about following the latest fashion trends, they start following every trend that some popular actor, actress, or fashion influencer suggest. If you are a critical thinker you may have had thought of the questions like why the particular trend that was so popular a few years back seems foolish now? why does a particular trend that does not even look good is so popular? Do the particular fashion trend that suits the other person suits yourself or not? Critical thinking helps people from falling victim to the bandwagon fallacy; it is fallacy in which people starts believing a particular thing or idea as good or bad if the majority of the population thinks so. Fashion trends are a common example of bandwagon fallacy.
12. Critical Thinking in Choosing the Suitable Diet and Exercise
You must have heard of various types of diets such as the Keto diet, Whole 30 diet, Gluten-free diet, Vegan diet and so on. It seems complex to choose the diet that is best for you. What people usually do is that they search online, go through several videos and choose the diet that showed the best results to the person in the video. Well, this is not the right approach, choosing the best diet for yourself requires critical thinking. People who use critical thinking evaluate the pros and cons of the particular diet on their own body, they generally ask about the suitable diet from professional dieticians rather than just following the advice of a random person online. Like choosing a suitable diet, choosing a suitable exercise also demands critical thinking. For example, What are your goals? How can you achieve this? At what time you can do exercise? Do you have any injuries that may get affected by the particular exercise? People who use critical thinking tend to ask all these questions, and then by utilizing the knowledge they have and the following routine for a few weeks, and by analyzing the results they are getting from it, they finally plan a proper schedule for them.
13. Critical Thinking in Online Shopping
In today’s digital era, online shopping is preferred by most people. However, there are various tactics and psychological tricks such as the anchoring effect, Stroop effect, and Serial position effect that are used by the various e-commerce websites, which makes the customers buy more things or things that they don’t even need. Critical thinking can help people to smartly buy items without falling victim to all these effects or tactics. While making the purchase you should focus on the price that you are paying for the particular item rather than the discount you are getting on that item because the chances are that the price that you are paying for that item is not worth paying even after the discount.
14. Critical Thinking in Job Search
Critical thinking plays an important role in the Job search. If you are applying for a job, you may consider the following points to get the desired job.
Use of Keywords in Resume: One should always understand the job post and its requirements before straightaway applying for the job. It is important to update your resume according to the job and add some keywords (mentioned in the job requirements) into your resume to get the job. If you possess some critical thinking skills such as problem-solving, analytical, communication, or creativity skills, it is better to put that in your resume. However, one should always restrain from adding any random critical thinking skills that you do not possess.
Cover Letter: Hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes daily, hence the chances that they will read every resume are quite less. Well, you can make your resume different from others by adding a good cover letter. You can add some of the critical skills that you have to your resume, it is better to explain a little about the tasks or activities where you showed these skills in your previous jobs or work experiences rather than just simply writing the skill. This assures the recruiter that you are not randomly writing the skills and you possess these qualities.
Interviews: Nowadays, some interviewers present the interviewees with hypothetical stories to check their critical thinking skills. You may be asked to explain what you think of the given situation or your first reaction after looking at the given image. You are required to solve any random problem, and then you have to explain to the recruiter about your thought processes. The interviewer here is more focused on the way you reach the conclusion rather than the conclusion itself. Your thought process helps the interviewer to analyse and evaluate the way you approach various problems
15. Critical Thinking While Driving
Imagine you are driving on a busy road and your phone starts ringing. It’s an urgent call that you have to pick. What would you do? Would you pick up the call and risk yourself into an accident or stop your car on the roadside to take the call. Critical thinking helps you to make accurate decisions while driving, it includes finding the right place to park your car, analysing whether you can pass the car through that narrow street or not, or how to handle if any animal suddenly comes in front of your car. Hence, critical thinking is must require skill in driving.
16. Critical Thinking in Business
Critical thinking is one of the most important things that the owner of the business needs to possess. One has to make several important decisions, effectively communicate with the clients, hire suitable employees, take certain risks, and deal with several ups and downs in the business, and much more; all these things require critical thinking.