Many of us treat our thoughts like they were facts, and many of these thoughts can be unhelpful limiting assumptions, holding us back. Once I started to question my own way of thinking, examine my own assumptions, a whole new world opened up to me and it was liberating.
That is why learning and raising awareness about critical thinking is in the heart of my company. It is extremely important to interrogate ideas before we accept them as worthy of belief.
Critical thinking is generally a deliberate, systematic way of processing information and the conscious awareness of the process itself.
Critical thinking helps to recognise and correct your thinking errors, logical fallacies and helps you to make conscious, informed decisions, to choose the most ideal course of action in a given situation instead of ‘running on autopilot’ or unchecked conditioning of the past.
And that’s not all, the cognitive behavioural approach informs us how thoughts can influence feelings, bodily sensations and behaviour, so changing your way of thinking can change all of these.
It is not an easy journey, critical thinking usually doesn’t come naturally to us, we are prone to all sorts of biases - take confirmation bias as an example, that we tend to seek out and favour information that confirms our already existing beliefs and ignore or understate information that would potentially refute our beliefs. And that’s just one example where our unchecked way of thinking can lead us astray, there are so many more.
A good start can be stepping into an observer perspective of your own thoughts, assumptions and beliefs, examining where they are coming from and if they are based on credible evidence. Ask yourself and others: 'How do you know that?' 'How did you arrive at that conclusion?'
Stepping on the path and continuously learning is priceless, levelling up your thinking helps you to be less prone to manipulation, make informed decisions and live more intentionally.
Lyons, J. and Ward, B. (2018). The New Critical Thinking: An Empirically Informed Introduction. New York: Routledge.
Myles, P., & Shafran, R. (2015). The CBT handbook. London: Robinson