Critical Thinking pushes us to Unlearn

When I first came upon the concept of ‘Critical Thinking’, I was intrigued to know more. Upon ploughing further, I was astonished to learn that its implications were not only important and relevant to one’s professional life but also impacted personal life decision making abilities. 

First of all, what is ‘Critical Thinking’ and why we use it? 

‘Critical Thinking’ is the language of strategy” says Stanford Business School. Put in a simpler way, ‘Critical Thinking’ is the ability to form a decision that has arrived post analysing all facts surrounding the activity. Importantly, one must have an unbiased way of thinking when analysing things or encountering any kind of information. ‘Critical Thinking’ validates accuracy; it checks if the evidence supports the argument provided, it looks for biases and busts assumptions. 

I personally believe, ‘Critical Thinking’ pushes us to unlearn our previous societal ways of thinking and adopt a fresh and more meaningful method to forming an opinion that then guides an action we take in our everyday life. In today’s fast paced life, thanks to ‘social journalism’ and fewer regulations to curb online content, there is a lot of unauthenticated but instantly available information that we internalize, and via various mediums. Further, our decision-making abilities are mostly formed by our entire life’s social conditioning – be it at home inherited from family surroundings or via the curriculums that guided our education, or the circle of people we move with and get influenced. We make subconscious decisions with this pattern of thinking. Many times wrong decision may not be reversible and can leave a shattering effect. So adopting ‘Critical Thinking’ skills in our everyday life will only elevate and better our decision-making abilities that will then enhance our lives. Start by accepting that subconscious biases and irrational thinking is a huge part of our everyday decision-making ability due to previous social conditioning methods. Now, make a ‘conscious’ change to adopt a new way of thinking based on many factors. When cultured over time, it will become the inherent primary method of the way we think, thus bettering our decisions in life. 

So, what are the tools to adopt for ‘Critical Thinking’? 

  1. Start by asking yourself these pertinent questions. 

  2. On source dependency 

  • How credible is the source from where the information is acquired?  

  • Are the reasons provided relevant or just fallacies with inconsistent reasoning? 

  • Is the claim made factually correct or is it just someone’s personal view? 

  • Is everyone just agreeing and that influences you to agree too? 

On support data 

  • What can you safely assume as true - if no proof or analysis is provided to support the narrative?  

  • What insights or perspectives are you then using and from the smartest point of view possible?  

  • What is the best way to interpret the information to reach an informed conclusion, with the data available in hand? 

Framing content 

How a question is framed, may also affect the quality and sometimes the authenticity of the answer. In the same way, how information is presented, may also influence the decision being made, thereby impacting the solutions. 

  1. Watch for Fallacies. Get rid of ‘Been there done that’ kind of thinking. Evaluate the subconscious intuitions and impulses to familiar situations. Just because a situation may feel like or look like something that you experienced previously – the same solution may not always be applicable. This thinking is instant and comes automatically but can you trust it without relying on conscious reasoning? So, make it a habit to always look at everything as a blank slate. Evaluate the challenges and opportunities to each task or situation from a fresh perspective that may lead you to new solutions.  

Look for these important essentials that are more personal 

  • Emotions: Whenever one is in a heighten state of emotion – recognise it and take a pause. Making a decision when you are so happy or too sad or too angry may not lead to the required solution to the problem at hand, as such decisions are usually not taken in a proper mind state. 

  • Personality: Being resistant to change in general or because you have higher authority to disagree, may not help foster an environment to cultivate Critical Thinking in others, or yourself. E.g. Ego. Do you tend to ignore or even dismiss a thought or argument just because it comes from someone you dislike, even if it has factual support data? 

  • Biases:?Typecasting and developing quick moral perceptions will make you ignore the truth of a circumstance and support its valuations. E.g. “Oh millenniums will always want to WFH”. Also, you spot biases easily in others but the same in you – they go undetected. 

Lastly, other important details that we give an oversight to 

  • Cross-question an expected outcome. This can be something similar to a past situation, so that you don’t repeat a mistake or in fact improve what you did the last time. 

  • Stop multitasking outside capacity so your attention is undivided on critical matters; one way is to turn of notifications on phones, so your attention is focused when needed most to concentrate on analytics. 

  • Then there are 2 important aspects – “Get enough Sleep” & “Eat well”. Yes, physical health is directly related to mental health. Take short breaks as needed.


‘Critical thinking’, where objective and rational analysis is applied to arrive at an informed conclusion, is the space to be in. Adopting ‘Critical thinking’ behaviour aids foresightedness and preparedness. One stands to gain respect as their arguments hold value. Most importantly, valuable decisions imply getting positive and expected results. In the long run, consciously using critical thinking tools everyday becomes a natural way of doing, as the brain forms a pattern, like a habit. 

About the Author

Flovie Martins is an awarded and recognised Brand Communications Specialist in her industry with a career spanning 17 yrs. In her various roles as Head of Corporate Communications she has successfully led strategy for multiple brand and communication campaigns across media relations, internal communications, CSR programs, customer relations, employer branding etc. Amongst renowned global brands across multiple industries that she has worked with are organisations like Tata AIG, Future Generali and done media relations for brands like DHL, Piramal Group, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Johnson and Johnson, LÓreal, Botox, Honeywell, Emerson, Amazon Web services, Godrej, Fujitsu etc in India and in Dubai for brands like Jacky’s, Legrand, Crayola, Dubai Cables, DUTCO - to name a few. She strongly believes in everyday learning and reinventing one’s self in life whenever there are opportunities to become a better version of yourself.

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  • Gr8 insights ??