In my previous article on how to become more valuable in the marketplace, I shared one important tip – that is to acquire more than one skill.

If there’s one skill among so many that need to be developed, in my opinion, I would say it’s critical thinking.

Critical thinking, in a nutshell, is the disciplined process of processing information based on substance, context, and timing before making a conclusion or judgment.

Many people go astray in their lives because they let every idea that comes their way to influence their minds. If they can develop this critical skill, they would be able to go to places they wish they were, or become a better person they aimed to be.

critical-thinking

There are three primary reasons that I see critical thinking as a necessary skill to practice.

First, it helps you to filter information that you get by reading, watching or listening to a video, article or any other sources.

You put, what I call, “mental stop” to an idea that is trying to enter your mind. You pause for a while and think.

By doing so, you don’t give a chance to any idea that will not add value to your success goals.

Second, critical thinking helps you deepen your values by recognizing them first as your primary criteria to check if an idea is good or bad.

Thirdly, critical thinking allows you to make solid arguments when there is a need to protect your beliefs and your virtues.

No, you don’t insist debate, but when the time comes that you have to defend what you believe in, you know what to say because you have pondered it well several times.

Now, let me discuss how you can develop a critical thinking skill.

1. Question the popular thinking. 

Our social networks are now bombarded with motivational quotes, videos on “5 easy tips to make”, “quick hacks,” and “secrets to success.” Information like these is scattered everywhere. If you want more of them, just follow a famous personality, and get notified by his latest updates.

When an idea is positive and is coming from a person you admire because he or she is very famous and rich, you are likely to read it, consume for a while, and share it quickly.

But..

How many times have you questioned a popular idea?

Have you taken time to reflect and criticize if it is really valuable?

If you are like most people, you don’t. As long as the quote got thousands of likes and shares, it doesn’t matter, they will accept it.

I want you to take cautious moments and think.

The next time you read a quote, watch a video, read a book, or hear a principle from a speaker, my recommendation is for you to ask yourself these simple questions:

  • Are these ideas aligned with my beliefs, values, and virtues in life?
  • What’s the context of this statement?
  • Where is the speaker coming from? Why is he saying that?
  • Does the idea add lasting value to me and to others?
  • Are these statements leading me to shortcuts or easy hacks in life?
  • Does this person’s life reflect what he says?

And a lot more questions that would allow you to criticize the idea. Once you’ve got through all the thinking process, you will realize if an idea is worth accepting, worth to practice to your personal life, and even worth sharing to your social media feeds.

2. Read more than one material. 

My favorite business philosopher, Jim Rohn, says this best, “Don’t be a follower, be a student.”

What does it mean to be a student?

To be a student means to read more than just one book. You go to the library and look for other references for the same topic. You don’t stop searching until you find which resources are valid and credible.

Then you make a curated list of topics or points that sums up your entire report or presentation.

In life, you don’t just follow the crowd. You don’t just accept opinions from other people. You get more than one source. You ask advice from many counselors, mentors or coaches. You seek for learning.

From that, you make a decision upon your conclusion. You conclude on yourself on what makes sense to you.

TAKEAWAYS:

You cannot master critical thinking by just enrolling in a course or reading a book on this topic. It requires more than that – a discipline to think and reflect and the humility and willingness to be corrected.

“You eat the meat and throw away the bones,” as Francis Kong said. You get what is substantial and valuable, and throw away what’s not.

So, If someone tells you there’s a shortcut to success or one formula to getting wealth, would you believe them easily?.