How to become a remarkable objective critical thinker, part 1, the why the what and the how

Due to the fact that modern life takes us so fast through so many different situations, it’s hard to even fully understand what’s even happening, let alone take into consideration all the information and sort it out to get to the right conclusion. Still, despite what you may think and despite it’s obvious utility, logic is not a friend of many, and really few understand just how much plain logic and objectivity can help you out in day to day life. It’s not a solution to all your problems, it’s not a magic ring, but it’s what should be done.

Credits

The modern man who gets what he wants pretty much all the time without cheating, lying and stealing is by definition a critical thinker, even though he may not realize it; your mind is working at all times, even when you sleep (actually, it’s believed that finding the answer to some problems which seem unsolvable could just arrive in your sleep). Life is all about the decisions you make, and when you make decisions what you basically do is look at what you should do, why you should do it and how you should do it; these are the steps to take if you want to become a critical thinker as well.

So what is critical thinking?? It’s the process of verifying the accuracy of the information you have and using it using your own effective personal set of criteria to get to the result which you want to achieve. It should be used in virtually all of the circumstances you will encounter in your life.

Credits

Still, what makes taking decisions so hard, at least most of the time, and especially the important ones ?? The main disadvantage is that it’s really tempting to think about your problem from the inside. This way you can’t really see the big picture, and you tend to neglect the negative aspects hoping they won’t happen. But closing your eyes doesn’t mean the others can you, it just means that you can’t see the others. You have to analyze your situation from many (if not all) perspectives, and only after that, by a process of deduction, get to the right conclusion and avoid the distractions.

Credits

Also, another thing that has to be understood is that thinking logically doesn’t limit your creativity, on the contrary. Many things you find unbearable could be turned into something really easy with a minimum effort and consideration of the things involved. It’s really hard if you can’t do it naturally, but it’s really easy once you see how to do it. That’s what the point of this series is, to help you find the critical objective thinker within you, and let him lead you towards solving your problems. It’s going to be in three parts: the why, the how and the what.

This is part 1 of Becoming a Remarkable Thinker
Parts 1, 2, 3, 4

How to become a remarkable objective critical thinker, part 2, the why

As I said in the prologue of this series, using your analytic critical abilities is very important for a man, no matter what he does and how he thinks; it’s something required by more than our society, it’s something required by our inner nature. But some people might find it hard to believe that, so here’s just some of the reasons why you should think and use logic to solve your problems.

You can’t estimate your position without being objective; sometimes it’s hard to understand exactly where you really are, whether it’s your job, your relationship or something else. It’s in the human nature to think about the best and put the bad things aside, but it’s important to really understand where you are, so you can prepare yourself for any obstacles which might appear in your way; and if it’s all good, than it’s all good.

Credits

Objectivity is a must for long term success; you can reach success on a whim, or by pure luck, but it’s the staying up that’s hard. It’s really hard to lose yourself once you achieve your goal, whether it’s your dream job or just the pretty girl that lives next door. One of the big secrets of life is to take nothing for granted and to understand that anything could go bad at any moment. For example, they might have hired you because they just didn’t have anybody else, or the girl might have been drunk that evening. That doesn’t mean that you can’t keep them; if you work hard and smart and treat the girl just right, you might keep both of them, but not without understanding where you stand.

Credits: that probably won’t be the girl next door

A critical mind can eliminate the unneeded, leaving just what you need for a great life; the process here is simple, you analyze your options and step by step reach the best one. How?? That’s easy. Let’s say you’ve got to decide where to go on your vacation (it is summer time, after all). You look at your options, and see if there’s anyone that just stands out, somewhere that you’ve always wanted to go and have the chance to do at this point. If so, that’s the choice for you. If not, you should eliminate those which are less apealing, by taking into consideration the factors which might influence your decision. Try to think about as many of these as possible, as this will greatly increase the accuracy of your decision making process. After you do this, repeat these steps again, until you reach the great vacation you’ve been dreaming of all year; somebody who would’ve decided on a whim without even thinking the least bit critical has every chance of getting a lousy vacation.

When the odds are against you, logic is what could tip the balance in your favor; this one’s easy too. If you see for example that you’re working on something and you can in no way finish in time, what do you do?? If it’s not done on time it’s worthless. Working continuously and hoping it will be enough will probably be not enough. Now is the time to stop and ponder your options; perhaps you’re not doing something right, perhaps there’s somebody that could help you, or perhaps you could cancel other projects. Find the right way so you can finish on time instead of brainlessly working ahead.

It’s a very good exercise for your mind; have you wondered why people solve logic problems, or just think about certain issues ?? Have you ever wondered why a student that has been seriously learning for several months for his tests uses his mind more effectively than usually?? Critical thinking is an essential process that cultivates and educates your mind, increasing your sense of reality and effectively making you smarter. It opens new doors in what concerns your understanding, as well as the circumstance and situation of your life.

“>Credits for this great pic: Nothing better than a workout

You could check for further info on adam sicinski’s blog; the man has absolutely great advice. So hopefully I’ve convinced you (at least a bit) that thinking is a really useful (no, really), but often underestimated method of solving your problems. But you have to think the right way, objective and critical, cause otherwise you would just do some more work in vain.

This is part 2 of Becoming a remarkable thinker
Parts 1, 2, 3, 4

How to become a remarkable objective critical thinker, part 3, the characteristics

Here’s the bad side; nobody can make you a critical thinker. There’s nobody else that can do it for you, you have to learn how to do it and do it. It’s as easy as that. Still, there are some guidelines that are very useful to an ascending analytic mind. First of all, here are the most important characteristics of the objective thinker.

Credits: elephants are wonderful creatures, and we can learn much from them

Their mind and process of thinking seems complex and very hard to understand at first, but it follows some very simple guidelines and expands them to a whole web of subtler ideas. It’s this massive web of information and the repeted exercise of thinking that makes it easier for him to get to the right conclusion; this also means of course that he has the ability to analyze information.

He has the ability to adapt to new situations and uses his flexible mind to sort out order into even the most complicated things. Using simple guidelines and principles should by no means discourage you to be creative, or even more dangerous, encourage you to have a fixed mind. A rigid mind is an enemy you have to avoid.

He identifies facts and figures that don’t come out at a first glance. The quantity of the information processed is really important too, but what really makes the difference is quality. Knowing how to interpret a smile, the voice behind a statement or even knowing how to read between the lines is the difference between the right price and a buck short. Also, the one who asks just the right question and underlines the single most important aspect of something, is the best critical thinker.

Credits

He’s confident and has faith in succeeding by himself; you should really be careful here, because confidence comes as a result of critical thinking, not the other way around. Things won’t go your way just because you think they will go your way. But if you see them going right, your confidence will be given a significant boost and this will make things even better for the future.

He has a good memory and has knowledge on many issues; once you tap into your inner critical thinker, you’ll understand the importance of it and I pretty much doubt you’ll want to give it up. You’ll learn more and more things, and by exercising your memory you’ll make it better; once you have a better memory, you’ll have more information to filter and so on. If you want to achieve this, you have to tune into your past memories and find similar experiences to which you are living. Another good exercise is thinking what would you do in a certain situation if you had the chance to do it again. Has your opinion changed?? Do you feel that you have a better understanding of the situation you’re in?? Those are just two of the questions you should answer affirmative to.

Credits: savoir vivre

He’s calm, and thinks about the future; of course panic and anxiety are enemies of the mind, and you should eliminate them wherever you can, as they bring nothing good. They’re only distractions. He’s very calculated and thinks about things in the long run as well.

He pretty much succeeds in everything he wants; this is the main objective, this is why it’s worth to be an objective thinker. It’s hard to believe, but you have to try it to believe it; you’ll probably find it hard to believe just how much the quality of your life can improve.

This is part 3 of Becoming a remarkable thinker
Parts 1, 2, 3, 4

How to become a remarkable objective critical thinker, part 4, starting and improving

Now that you know why you should why it’s important to think clearly and what a critical thinker shows, it’s important to know how you can start to develop this ability and how you can improve it. No subtle and crowning exercises here, just some basic tips to get you started.

Credits: “A man is not an orange. You can’t eat the fruit and throw the peel away”

The first thing you should do is refrain from acting by your first impulse

  • Why?? It’s simple: you’ll do things you’ll probably come to regret later. How many times haven’t you said or done something than regretted it, just because you were nervous?? Probably many times. It’s the first step in overcoming your instinctive atavic reactions.
  • How?? This is where it gets a bit more complicated, because first you have to be sure you’ve fully released yourself from whatever emotions you may feel, and then start thinking about what you have to do. If you can’t do that at first, try counting in your mind (no limit), drink a glass of water, or just take a short walk.
  • After that, it’s really important to synthetize the facts, eliminate what’s irrelevant and keep only what is useful as information, so you can analyze it. You could find this difficult, because sometimes it’s hard to draw the line as to what’s useful and what should be neglected, so don’t be discouraged if you make some mistakes at first. You’ll improve in time.

    Credits
    After you’ve synthetized the facts, it’s time to analyze. It’s the step which will lead you towards the decision and definitely the most complex one, so in order to employ some help for yourself and ask some questions, such as:

  • Are there any more facts I can aknowledge before I start analyzing?
  • Is there something that I’m missing?
  • How is this related to that?
  • What are the causes that led to this situation?
  • What’s most possible of happening and how can I prepare myself for that?
  • What other ideas back that other idea up?
  • What would happen if I did that?
  • Suppose this happens, what would happen after that?
  • What’s the best possible solution for this problem?
  • How would I test the possible outcome and make it better?
  • Of course these are just small samples, and you could think of some questions yourself, that would perhaps apply better to your situation.

    Upon analyzing, you have to think about the short, medium and long term implications. There’s a big chance you will be put into a situation which has short term benefits, but affects the long term progress, or the other way around. You have to try to anticipate what will happen and again think realistically about what the situation is and how you can adapt to it. There’s no reason for being optimist here, because it’s hard to say what will happen and how things will evolve, so it can’t hurt to be prepared for something.

    Another thing that you can do is ask some other people who could give you a different perspective. But that doesn’t mean that they are right, you should still rely on yourself and your judgements, but it’s sometimes refreshing to hear things from a different perspective. It’s why brainstorming relies on too.

    Credits
    After you’ve made the decision, you’re still not done yet. You have to prepare in case things don’t go your way; prepare for the bad things, because there’s no need to prepare for the good ones, is it?? That way if things go wrong, at least you’ll be prepared. All you’ve got to lose is some times, and you’ve got a lot to win.

    This is part 4 of Becoming a Remarkable Thinker
    Parts 1, 2, 3, 4.

    Here we are! – how to live in a collectivity

    People, when things go wrong
    As they sometimes will
    And the road you travel
    It stays all uphill
    Let’s work together
    ~Canned heat~

    Spending six or seven hours five days a week in a group of 20 or even more people can prove to be a little tricky sometimes as conflicts become something regular. Especially as we grow up, they tend to become more complex and relations can be easily influenced in a negative way. Of course, sometimes you feel that you can’t take it any more. It’s normal, but remember that by having the right attitude from the beginning, you will find the hours you spend with the others pleasant and even relaxing.
    1. When you are new in a group the best thing you can do is to meet the others, begin a conversation and introduce yourself. Still, try not to exaggerate and try to spend the first days noticing what the others like end dislike before getting too personal. Try to learn something about them before offending anyone by mistake. Try to keep the conversation neutral!
    2. Everyone has their own role in a group. One can be the clown, another one the hard-worker and so on. Try to be as balanced as possible and to create an image of yourself. You mustn’t expose very much, but try not to create a fake image of yourself; it won’t work. If you are not the party starter don’t try to act like one, it’s ok. This is who you are and you should not try to change it or lie about it.
    Continue reading

    Fight Your Phobias!

    You’re so afraid of what people might say
    But that’s okay cuz you’re only human
    You’re so afraid of what people might say
    But that’s okay you’ll soon get strong enough
    ~Nelly Furtado~

    Many people complain about having a phobia, but in reality, what they experience is a simple fear caused by the preservation instinct. A phobia is much more than this, as it’s irrational and can affect one’s life completely. But no matter how severe a phobia is, it’s not impossible to cure. However, this is not a matter of medication, as their effect lasts only for a short period of time, it’s a matter of will and of knowing yourself.
    Although there are strange fears such as the fear of snow, clocks, numbers or sitting which are less frequent, other fears such as the fear of being ridiculed, social phobias or the fear of failure can be found in many individuals.

    The Fear of Crowds And Open Spaces (Agoraphobia)

    It is experienced by quite a lot of people and even more claim to feel bad physically in such situations. It manifests itself through nausea, sickness and trembling but also psychologically through an unexplainable and very strong fear of traveling alone in a plane or bus or even of crossing a street or a bridge. Does this situation sound familiar? Don’t be ashamed! Therapy is not for mad people so don’t be afraid to talk to a specialist as soon as you’ve acknowledged you have a problem. Moreover, don’t let the others pamper you, so try to travel alone, at first on small distances and then more and more. It’s not impossible to fight your own fears! This fear can also be caused by childhood experiences so finding the exact cause can also help! Continue reading

    Monday again? No problem!

    Every other day, every other day,
    Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
    But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
    You can find me cryin’ all of the time
    ~The Mamas and the Papas~

    We all hate Mondays, that’s a fact. Just thinking about this day can cause head aches to any student or to anyone having a job. Maybe this is why this day is the least productive of the whole week. So how about a little change of attitude in order to be more successful?

    1. Remember that it’s all in your mind and the way you see this situation affects all your behavior. So don’t spend your Sunday thinking about the fact that you will start work again, that you’ll have classes and that it will be hard to do everything! Be positive and optimistic about it as there is nothing particularly scary about a Monday.

    2. Get yourself a head start – knowing that the second part of any Friday isn’t too productive you could use it to make a plan for the following week so that your Monday morning will be less agitated. Then, by cleaning your desk and arranging your papers you will find your Monday start a lot easier and you will improve your work. Continue reading

    Smoke free! 10 ways of giving up smoking for good!

    Nightmares made of hash dreams, the devil in my shoes
    What have I done wrong?
    Yeah nothing can go right with me it must be that i’ve been smoking too
    Long
    ~Placebo~

    What makes you start smoking again? Anger? Stress? Boredom? Tiredness? The first two are universally known to make people return to this bad habit. Each of these make you want to kill for a smoke, but cigarettes do nothing but to increase stress and to affect your health and even social relations. Learn to handle these situations and not to turn to cigarettes!
    1. Take care of yourself! By depriving your body of smoking, assure that it won’t suffer because of this. Try to have a balanced diet and choose healthy, nutritious food. Ask a specialist about what you should eat and about what you should avoid. Fresh fruits and vegetables should help you the most! Give good quality “fuel” to your body and drink more water to be hidrated. Avoid drinks which have too many chemicals as you need to purify your organism. Take vitamins as nicotine has emptied your body of nutrients, in order to recover faster. Still, ask your doctor for a recommendation!
    2. Give up caffeine! Drinking coffee in a time like this might make you nervous even angry so try reducing the quantity of coffee you drink every day. Even a simple coke can have unsuspected effects so you may even give up on it totally for a while. These two habits are usually associated so you may gain a lot more by forgetting about both of them!
    3. Take a warm bath! It’s an excellent way to relax and to get rid of stress. Add just a little salt and it will be perfect! Relax and think about something pleasant. A little time spent like this everyday may bring even more benefits to both your body and mind.
    4. Have a massage! If you can’t go to a specialist or you don’t have the time for that ask a friend or your partner to help you with that. You will also have time for a little chat and you will forget about how much you need a cigarette. Keep this habit in the future too as it’s pleasant and useful. Remember: even 15 minutes can do miracles! Continue reading

    5 Lessons for a Happy Life

    A guest post by Shilpan Patel, from success soul

    If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap. If you want happiness for a day — go fishing. If you want happiness for a month — get married. If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.
    – Chinese Proverb

    While driving on the highway, I stumbled upon a billboard that read, “Be happy now”. I, for a moment, felt jolt of happiness in my body. It was inexplicable but the feeling was real.
    I pondered along the way about happiness and its sources. Where it comes from? I started feeling nostalgic. My mind started wandering into the past in an intense search for the traces of happiness. It was exhilarating thought to find the roots of happiness that lie nowhere but in my own thoughts and the ability to react to different circumstances.
    I have a habit of writing a journal. The journal tracks my life. It tracks my setbacks, it tracks my success and it certainly tracks my happy days. I went through the journal to capture the lessons of happiness that I can share with you.

    Lesson # 1: Make someone happy:
    A successful surgeon practices surgery daily; a successful lawyer practices law daily. To become happy, you need to make someone happy. Engage in random acts of kindness. Try to serve others with your time and money. Making someone happy makes you selfless. I have always felt happy when I do not expect any return for the service I rendered. It always makes my day fulfilling.

    Lesson # 2: Become debt free:
    Debt is an imprisonment to our happiness. It shackles our ability to think and pursue true happiness. Imagine if you are living by paycheck to paycheck, it is hard to have anytime for things that bring happiness when you have to work to make money to pay debt without any relief. You can cut out fat from your spending to work towards paying off your debt. If you start living life of simplicity, you will accentuate your freedom from the debt-ridden life.

    Remember, happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have, it depends solely upon what you think.
    – Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) American writer.

    Lesson # 3: Choose to be positive:
    Our ability to choose our thoughts allows us to think positively. If we learn how to replace self-limiting thoughts with affirmations, we develop habit of positive thinking. For instance, replace self-limiting thought of – “I do not have enough time to enjoy time with my family.” with “I have plenty of time to spend time with my family”.

    Lesson # 4: Be transparent:
    I constantly remind myself that to earn trust from friends and family, I have to remain transparent about my actions. I have to show honesty and sincerity in the pursuit of happiness to get support from my alter ego. I have to show her that I’m committed to her pursuit of happiness as much as I’m to mine. Develop transparency with the attitude of showing all your cards to others involved in your life. They will in turn show you their cards; together everyone wins.

    Lesson # 5: Live a simple life:
    The modern day life is an entangled web of complexity. We live with cell phones, laptops, and pagers. These devices are convenient and they definitely add flexibility to work anywhere in the world. However, we pay steep price for these conveniences. We clutter our minds with information overload. We tend to ignore our inner voice of simplicity to feel true happiness. We tend to ignore the pristine value of our time with family; we definitely ignore the pearls of joy in sharing our laughter with our children. I’m not advocating that we give up on our pursuit of the burning desire, I’m suggesting that we shall always be mindful about de-cluttering our physical as well as mental space to live for a happy, fulfilling life.

    Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
    – Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Preeminent leader of Indian nationalism.

    Photo Courtesy of Smugmug

    Different degrees of honesty and one exemple for each

    And the reason for my confession is that I learn my lesson
    And I really think you ought to know the truth
    Because I lied and I cheated and I lied a little more
    But after I did it I don’t know what I did it for
    I admit that I have been a little immature

    ~Black Eyed Peas – Don’t lie~

    I try to be as sincere as I can and I strongly believe that sincerity is the key for solving most of humanity’s problems. If only Adam hadn’t lied to God … or for the ones less religious, if only politicians wouldn’t lie so much!

    VIA

    But there are too many complicated situations to tell only the truth. You have to be diplomat, not to hurt the people you love or to get that raise that will allow you to buy a new shiny car. So we arrive to dr. House’s “Everybody lies” (you really should watch that show). Yes, but what’s the measure? When to tell the truth and when it’s safe to tell a lie? Another of my strong beliefs is that equilibrium brings us one step closer to happiness. In this case, it’s all about balance between truth and lie.

    But you can’t say there’s only truth; there are big lies, lies, little lies, joking, truth, the big truth. Continue reading