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  • Every day, a sea of decisions stretches before us.

  • Some are small and unimportant, but others have a larger impact on our lives.

  • For example, which politician should I vote for?

  • Should I try the latest diet craze?

  • Or will email make me a millionaire?

  • We're bombarded with so many decisions that it's impossible to make a perfect choice every time.

  • But there are many ways to improve our chances, and one particularly effective technique is critical thinking.

  • This is a way of approaching a question that allows us to carefully deconstruct a situation,

  • reveal its hidden issues, such as bias and manipulation, and make the best decision.

  • If the critical part sounds negative that's because in a way it is.

  • Rather than choosing an answer because it feels right,

  • a person who uses critical thinking subjects all available options to scrutiny and skepticism.

  • Using the tools at their disposal, they'll eliminate everything but the most useful and reliable information.

  • There are many different ways of approaching critical thinking.

  • But here's one five-step process that may help you solve any number of problems.

  • One: formulate your question.

  • In other words, know what you're looking for.

  • This isn't always as straightforward as it sounds.

  • For example, if you're deciding whether to try out the newest diet craze,

  • your reasons for doing so may be obscured by other factors like claims that you'll see results in just two weeks.

  • But if you approach the situation with a clear view of what you're actually trying to accomplish by dieting,

  • whether that's weight loss, better nutrition, or having more energy,

  • that'll equip you to sift through this information critically, find what you're looking for,

  • and decide whether the new fad really suits your needs.

  • Two: gather your information.

  • There's lots of it out there, so having a clear idea of your question will help you determine what's relevant.

  • If you're trying to decide on a diet to improve your nutrition, you may ask an expert for their advice, or seek other people's testimonies.

  • Information gathering helps you weigh different options, moving you closer to a decision that meets your goal.

  • Three: apply the information.

  • Something you do by asking critical questions.

  • Facing a decision, ask yourself, "What concepts are at work?"

  • "What assumptions exist?"

  • "Is my interpretation of the information logically sound?"

  • For example, in an email that promises you millions,

  • you should consider, "What is shaping my approach to this situation?"

  • "Do I assume the sender is telling the truth?"

  • "Based on the evidence, is it logical to assume I'll win any money?"

  • Four: consider the implications.

  • Imagine it's election time, and you've selected a political candidate based on their promise to make it cheaper for drivers to fill up on gas.

  • At first glance, that seems great.

  • But what about the long-term environmental effects?

  • If gasoline use is less restricted by cost, this could also cause a huge surge in air pollution, an unintended consequence that's important to think about.

  • Five: explore other points of view.

  • Ask yourself why so many people are drawn to the policies of the opposing political candidate.

  • Even if you disagree with everything that candidate says,

  • exploring the full spectrum of viewpoints might explain why some policies that don't seem valid to you appeal to others.

  • This will allow you to explore alternatives, evaluate your own choices, and ultimately help you make more informed decisions.

  • This five-step process is just one tool, and it certainly won't eradicate difficult decisions from our lives.

  • But it can help us increase the number of positive choices we make.

  • Critical thinking can give us the tools to sift through a sea of information and find what we're looking for.

  • And if enough of us use it, it has the power to make the world a more reasonable place.

Every day, a sea of decisions stretches before us.

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B1 TED-Ed critical thinking critical information candidate diet

【TED-Ed】5 tips to improve your critical thinking - Samantha Agoos

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    jacl posted on 2019/04/02
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