There are actually a lot of ways to train your mind to think critically. Since our minds are bombarded by tons of information on a daily basis, it’s important to know what information we should keep and what we should ignore, what it’s truthful and what is deceitful. It’s important to form our own opinions, because sometimes details do matter. You know what they say: “different viewpoints give different perspectives”. Critical thinking is in fact a very useful skill to develop and even though it doesn't always come naturally to us, it’s something we can train ourselves to do better. Here are a few very helpful ways to train your mind to think critically.
1. Pay Attention to the Right Details
One of the best ways to train your mind to think critically is by paying attention to the right details. We are exposed to a lot of information on a daily basis and that’s why, it’s important to discriminate between the truth and all the lies we hear. Listen to your gut and if something doesn’t sound right, than start questioning it and look for the other holes in the argument.
2. Question the Source
Try to always question the source of the information you hear. Ask questions and find out what makes the other person be so sure of what they are telling you. If it’s something you can find on the Internet, look for the sources and find out where that information came from originally.
3. Take Some Time out
If you’ve heard a lot of details about a certain something, but you still can’t form an opinion, then just take sometime out. The human brain actually holds between 5 to 7 pieces of information at a time, so if you are exposed to too much information, you can get confused. Just give your brain a little more time to sort things through, so you can form your own opinion.
4. Ask Questions
Always ask questions! Thinking critically and asking the right questions always go hand in hand. Try to carefully analyze everything you hear or see, since it’s important to know how things connect to what you already know. Examine what you think about an argument or idea and you’ll know what questions you need to ask.
5. Watch for Qualifying Phrases
Qualifying phrases are little words or simple phrases you hear that are actually warning signs because they tend to come before a weak argument. According to Wall Street Journal they are: “I want to say”, “To be perfectly honest”, “To tell you the truth”, “I hear what you’re saying”, “ Let’s be frank”, “As far as I know”, “Don’t take things the wrong way” and so on.
6. Challenge Yourself to See Alternate Points of View
What better way to form your own opinion than by challenging yourself to see alternate points of view? Sometimes, it’s extremely helpful to argue with yourself in order to see if you can find better arguments that can contradict what you firmly believe. See if your position would stand up against your own attacks and look for arguments that question your decision to believe a certain thing that you’ve heard.
In order to develop your critical thinking skills you should practice every day or at least, as often as you can. Keeping a journal or writing down your progress will help.
Critical thinking is a skill everyone should develop, so you can avoid being overly influenced or manipulated too easily by people who have bad intentions. Are you a critical thinker? How did you achieve that? Do you know any other useful ways to train your mind to think critically? Do tell!