B1 Intermediate US 1085 Folder Collection
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In my last essay, we discussed the importance of critical thinking.
Now it's time to answer the trillion dollar question:
How do you become a critical thinker?
I should reiterate that I am talking about critical thinking
in the sense that it is a personality trait and not a skill.
The tendency to think critically about the world emerges from
having the proper character traits.
I think the following traits serve as a good starting point.
"Open and fair-mindedness, inquisitiveness, flexibility,
a propensity to seek reason, a desire to be well-informed
and a respect for and willingness to entertain diverse viewpoints."
Emily Lai, Pearson Assessments
There is no quick hack to becoming a critical thinker,
but there are some habits that
one can build to alter their character in the right direction.
Habit number one: Read a lot and read widely.
Exposing yourself to unique points of view
is a good way to spark constant curiosity and to stay open-minded.
Well-read people understand that
there are multiple ways to look at a problem
and multiple lenses with which to view the world.
Habit number two: Don't jump to conclusions.
A good critical thinker has built up
the habit of not jumping to conclusions, especially in the absence of data.
They only make a judgement once they have studied a topic in some depth
and can justify their position with sound reasoning.
Habit number three: Create systems, not goals.
For example, creating a system, habit, or ritual that promotes writing every day
is more effective than setting the goal of writing an essay a week.
A system can be measured, refined and optimized. A goal cannot.
I can work on the inputs of my system to create better quality and quantity of outputs.
A goal only focuses on the outputs.
To improve the quality of my writing,
I created checklist that I can run through after completing each essay.
Every time I use my system, I create better essays.
With every essay I finish, I go back and refine my system.
It's a feedback loop that can be measured and improved.
Habit number four: Argue with yourself.
Great thinkers routinely and intelligently try to counter their own arguments.
They go back and forth until
only the most rational and strongest argument exists based on the knowledge they have.
This is also the mission of any good scientists.
The scientist tries to prove themselves wrong, not right.
When they continually fail to do so,
it's very likely that only the truth remains.
Habit number five: Be willing to change your opinion, be unattached to information,
have the willingness to change an opinion in the face of better data.
Habit number six: Write.
Writing is thinking.
The better we get at writing, the better we get at thinking.
Writing also helps us separate what we actually know from what we think we know.
Habit number seven: Seek adversity.
This one is controversial, but I believe it's the most powerful.
The main reason schools fail to teach critical thinking
is because they don't create the optimal environment to foster the correct character traits.
Schools are overly standardized and structured.
The rules are very rigid.
Once students understand the rules, school becomes a game.
Once they've established a game strategy that works,
they can play the game very passively and get by.
Most students quickly learn the bare minimum amount of effort required to get a job.
And then they have no incentive to work harder and to think actively.
But if you take them out of that game, if you break the immersion,
they are now forced to think critically.
In adversity, they learn to create new rules and break old ones.
They have to because it's either do or die.
The shift from a passive thinker to an active thinker
is very subtle on the surface because it happens internally.
It requires internal conviction, a strong belief in oneself.
Regardless of how many tips I give someone to become a critical thinker,
It ultimately has to come from a deep desire within.
Most great women and men have gone through adversity.
Why? Because adversity generates a lot of internal conviction.
This internal conviction drives them and constantly shifts them into active modes of thinking .
Instead of living defensively, they attack life with ferocity.
They know they're gonna die one day. Time is running out.
They don't know when that day will come, so they attack life.
They race against death because they have a purpose to fulfill.
I like to think of critical thinking as a tendency and not a skill.
Great thinkers constantly tend towards critical thinking in their daily lives.
If school doesn't teach students critical thinking, where are people learning it?
Life, adversity, books, the Internet.
These people become critical thinkers despite school not because of it.
They learn it because they have to.
I believe that one day schools will catch up into a better job of fostering this environment,
but, thankfully, we always have the power to put ourselves in a position to learn it.
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As always, thanks for watching, and I'll see you next time.
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7 Habits of Highly Effective Thinkers

1085 Folder Collection
林恩立 published on December 17, 2017    林恩立 translated    Samuel reviewed
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