EC Critical Thinking

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Published on January 28, 2008

Author: Rachele

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Successful Critical Thinking For Maximum Results:  Successful Critical Thinking For Maximum Results © 2004 William Cottringer, Ph.D. President of Puget Sound Security, Inc. And author of You Can have Your Cheese & Eat It Too Bellevue, WA 98004 (425) 454-5011 bcottringer@pssp.net Ignore if you don’t want to be more successful…:  Ignore if you don’t want to be more successful… The best kept secret and most precious gift you have been given is… Every moment you have an exciting opportunity to choose to explode into your infinite potential (or not). Something to consider::  Something to consider: According to success guru/icon Lou Tice and many others… The best opportunity comes about when you become disordered—shocked out of your routine comfort zone of status quo. When you become uncomfortably disordered...:  When you become uncomfortably disordered... You are being challenged to make an important choice: Do I want to revert to the safety of entropy, or let go to Possibilities—Become what I know I can become and do my best work? The secret gift…:  The secret gift… It all starts with your thinking—successful critical thinking, thought by thought. The first thought to think about is: How successful can you be? The answer determines…:  The answer determines… How successful you will be. SUCCESS = Talent + Determination + Effort + Critical Thinking Talent—The natural strengths you have. Determination—The size of your dreams and imagination. Effort—How much work you are willing to do. Critical thinking—Seeing what you need to see to do your best work. What is critical thinking?:  What is critical thinking? (How you define it helps determine what it is and how much of it you have): Thinking that combines rational logic, intuition, creativity and practical common sense to discover and apply critical truths that help you be successful in solving problems, achieving goals and getting results. Any mental activities that help you close the gap between where you are and where you want to be. These things are all very inter-related and can occur together even in a single thought. What is Rational Logic?:  What is Rational Logic? (How you define it helps determine what it is and how much of it you have): Weighing evidence thoroughly to arrive at correct conclusions/judgments. Analyzing core problems apart from their surface symptoms. Emotion-free thinking. Removing mental biases from the situation; separating truth from fiction. Learning to do the right thing in the right way to get the right results. What is Intuition?:  What is Intuition? (How you define it helps determine what it is and how much of it you have): A silent voice within. Gut instincts for knowing the difference between moments of danger vs. moments of opportunity. A walkie-talkie between your conscious and unconscious mind. Remembering what you have forgotten. What is Creativity?:  What is Creativity? (How you define it helps determine what it is and how much of it you have): Noticing something very ordinary, seeing a simple and important truth in it, and communicating that truth to others with clarity, economy, and impact. Adding something new to the equation; using older, ordinary things in new and unusual ways. Reconciling illusory “opposites” to transcend their limiting duality. Discovering basic governing principles and critical insights through serendipity. What is Practical Common Sense?:  What is Practical Common Sense? (How you define it helps determine what it is and how much of it you have): “The simple knack of seeing something the way it is and doing something the way it should be done” (Mark Twain). Thinking ahead about the likely consequences of doing something or not doing it; taking the easiest and quickest action that gets the best results with the least side-effects. Applying the laws of life and nature to get results. Heads Up…:  Heads Up… I realize the following information isn’t presented in the best style (too much information, too cluttered)… But that is the whole point—You must focus and think about the content apart from the style! Why is critical thinking so important?:  Why is critical thinking so important? It enables you to see what you need to see to decrease failures and increase successes. SUCCESS = Talent + Determination + Effort + Critical Thinking --freeing yourself from hostage-taking paradigms; opening up to a bigger picture that is continuously evolving. --decontaminating cognitive and perceptual biases. --increasing mental flexibility to have more alternatives. --becoming aware of the little things that get the biggest results. --unleashing the powers of intuition and creativity. --Purging useless, incorrect, & incomplete information; replacing it with better information leading to better feelings and more productive behavior. --identifying important governing principles that can be generalized to other situations. What inhibits critical thinking?:  What inhibits critical thinking? Defining it in a narrow, incomplete or incorrect way. Pride and ego that convinces you that you already know everything or what you think is right. Focusing on giving smart and clever answers instead of asking really good questions. Not following/testing your gut feelings. Making too many assumptions without verifying them. Competing against others instead of against yourself. Mental laziness. Lack of awareness of the poorly-wired mind which compresses complex realities into convenient, artificially simplistic categories for easy use and retrieval. The drive for instant gratification. Pessimistic thinking about the degree to which we have the power to change things for the better; negative expectations. Critical realizations…:  Critical realizations… The brain is poorly wired to grasp a correct and complete picture of reality. Thinking is mostly unconscious and spontaneous. Thinking is riddled with all kinds of cognitive and perceptual biases that distort information and beliefs. Thinking, feeling and behavior are continuously interacting and affecting each other; the object is to make it a mostly positive experience. All that you think you know may not necessarily be so. We are all at critical mass with information overload; this chaos needs critical thinking to restore order. Things are rarely as they first appear. It is difficult to separate the pure truth of something from your way of thinking, perceptual influences, past experiences and the situation itself. Thinking and communication are the main currencies in human interaction, and they are both very flawed. Other critical insights…:  Other critical insights… What you see depends mostly on where you are looking from. It’s not that we are using less than 10% of our brain but rather that less than 1% of our thinking is productive. Things are more inter-related than not. It is not the things in life that bother us, but rather our opinions about these things. Time is more psychological than mechanical and it is our most important resource that needs to be managed better. The more you understand and accept something, the more you can control it. Most conclusions are tentative and most “truth” is evolving. The simplicity just on the other side of complexity is valuable wisdom. Negative emotionality is a result of win-lose thinking (survival—knowing moments of danger); positive emotionality is a result of win-win thinking (progress-knowing moments of opportunity). A balanced mental position allows you to see in all directions; unfortunately you have to experience one extreme and then the other before you get there. 10 Ways to increase Rational Logic…:  10 Ways to increase Rational Logic… The lion’s share of your general intelligence and success comes from the books you read and the people you hang out with. Realize how little you really know compared to all the knowledge that is available; make a commitment to become a perpetual learner. Think about your thinking and start questioning assumptions. Resist your brain’s tendency to over-simplify things. Become more aware of the vicious circle interaction between your thoughts, feelings and behavior; begin to remove the emotional components to your critical thinking. Begin to look below the surface to understand all that is going on out of sight. Increase your awareness of how your mental and perceptual biases distort information—over-simplification, relating unrelated things in proximity, filling in missing details conveniently, distorted memory, etc. Understand that more information isn’t always needed, but rather using what information you already know, better. Practice paying more attention to the smaller details of something to increase your capacity to do this. Look for real evidence to disprove what you think you know. 10 ways to increase Intuition…:  10 ways to increase Intuition… Allow your inner voice more airtime. Look for ways to relax more and deal with the physical stress and destructive thinking that blocks intuition. Practice some sort of meditation to get in contact with your inner self. Start verifying/validating your hunches. Begin taking reasonable risks. Follow-up on what seems to be a meaningful coincidence. Notice the connection between your negative emotionality & win-lose survival thinking, and your positive emotionality & win-win productive thinking. Become more sensitive to moments of danger vs. moments of opportunity. Notice the similarity between the conclusions you arrive at from all the various forms of critical thinking going their separate ways. Look for ways to be more inclusive in your thinking; the source of intuitive power is centered in unity. 10 Ways to increase Creativity…:  10 Ways to increase Creativity… Re-define it more broadly so you have more of it! Observe nature and look for consistent operating principles and important truths that can be applied in your daily life. Observe children at play and appreciate their ingenuity, awe, inventiveness, spontaneity, innovation, and natural creativity. Look for ways that seemingly “opposite” things are really two sides of the same coin, i.e.,—male and female being human. Experiment in changing little routines—the words you use, your dress and grooming habits, furniture placement, etc. (shock your brain a little). Suspend judgments about the quality of a creative product you or others produce. Learn something positive from the next failure or bad event you experience. Brainstorm solutions to complex problems with others. Look for a truth you firmly believe and then add something else to it to make it even more truthful. Start noticing the connection between where you are standing and what you are seeing; change viewpoints. 10 ways to increase Practical Common Sense…:  10 ways to increase Practical Common Sense… Challenge basic assumptions. Ask more questions about how things work. Study people who have it. Learn what makes people tick--knowing and using good people skills is an integral part of success. Restore balance to areas of your life and thinking that are out of balance. Laugh more—this helps restore balance in your positive-negative emotional bank. Learn something from the next failure or mistake you make to fix it and prevent it from happening again. Slow down and start noticing the connection between the choices you make and the results you get. Become more aware of this reality: Optimistic thinking and positive expectations result in getting more of the good things in life. Think proactively—anticipate problems, expect the unexpected, develop a store of good solutions. The facts…:  The facts… Our brains can’t grasp reality fully so we artificially compress parts of it into convenient, over-simplified explanations, i.e.., all mental problems are caused by wrong interpretations of bad events. We perceive reality through biased lenses, being over-influenced by past experiences, education, upbringing, gender, expectations, selective attention, personal needs, perceptual rules, and many other interferences. Most of our consciousness is the result of thinking, not the process of thinking. We can’t make much progress in increasing critical thinking until we realize how little we really do know compared to what we can know and then commit to becoming a “student” again. Conscious successful thinking is a result of acknowledging and correcting thinking errors. We are quick to form beliefs that become resistive to the truth no matter how compelling the evidence may be. Our memories are mostly distorted. A couple of intense personal experiences often get turned into universal laws. We generally look for and accept new information that confirms what we already know; it is more productive to look to disprove something we think to be true. More facts…:  More facts… We tend to think others think like we do (mirroring). We have a bad habit of “satisficing,” which is accepting the first alternative that is good enough. We are imaginative in filling in the blanks to reach closure on good enough explanations. We are driven to achieve consensus, which often turns out to be mediocre information. We over-categorize things into opposing sides: This or that, right or wrong, good or bad, without exploring the middle ground. We are over-concerned about generating smart, clever answers, and under-concerned about asking good questions. We often seek more information, instead of re-thinking what we already know. We are unaware of the weight some things carry in our thinking. We get in mental ruts. We do a lot of assuming. We are not using much of our creative or intuitive powers. Emotions cloud too many important perceptions, judgments, conclusions and decisions. Even more facts…:  Even more facts… It is easier to disprove something than prove it, but usually try to prove it anyway. Firsthand experience outweighs secondhand experience, regardless of evidentiary value. Concrete information is valued more than abstract. Many important decisions and conclusions are made with the absence of crucial evidence. We are over-sensitive to consistency, often sacrificing real truth in the process. We have a real hard time dealing with ambiguity and often try to make it artificially certain. Mental impressions persist despite discrediting evidence. We ascribe cause and effect too easily. We over-estimate our ability to influence other people’s thinking and behavior. We over-estimate blame for our own mistakes externally and over-estimate blame for others’ mistakes internally. We often assume relationships between unrelated things that are just close together in space or time. We assume the converse of something we know; i.e. deception increases with high stakes, so it also decreases with low stakes. What to do?:  What to do? Sit down and become humble. Think about the strong possibility that your head is full of incorrect and incomplete information. Question your basic belief in the power you have right now to explode into your full potential. Take advantage of the next time you become uncomfortably disordered (or make that happen!) Make a commitment to become a perpetual student and learn what you don’t know. Practice the forty (40) suggestions to increase rational logic, intuition, creativity and practical common sense. Make your own lists. Be grateful you have the opportunity to do all this. Don’t forget to laugh every once in awhile. Fun things…:  Fun things… Read the following… Carefully re-read it. More fun…:  More fun… FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF MANY YEARS. How many “f’s” do you see? Keep counting until you see them all! More fun…:  More fun… Look at the figures from top left to right bottom When does the man turn into a woman? Still More fun…:  Still More fun… See an old or young lady? Even more fun…:  Even more fun… Without lifting pencil from paper, draw no more than four(4) straight lines that will cross through all nine dots. (Solutions—next page) Solutions…:  Solutions… More fun stuff…:  More fun stuff… Great web site: http://www.scientificpsychic.com/graphics/index.html

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