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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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    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.

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    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.

    Insomnia? just a bad dream!

    I’m wide awake in my kitchen
    It’s dark and I’m lonely
    Oh, if I could only get some sleep
    Creeky noises make my skin creep
    I need to get some sleep
    I can’t get no sleep….
    ~Faithless~

    Tired of staring at the ceiling for endless hours night after night? Frustrated because others can sleep without any problem? You’re definitely not alone as more and more people suffer from sleep disorders. Insomnia is caused most of the times by unhealthy habits which affect people’s ability to sleep. So this is why a few changes in your schedule should be enough to sleep again and to be more healthy and productive.
    – Create a sleep schedule in order to wake up at about the same hour everyday. Waking up one day at 6 AM and the second day at 12 AM will do nothing but to affect you in a negative way. If your work schedule is flexible choose an hour to wake up and this will also allow you to do other things around the house or just to spend more time doing something pleasant.
    Don’t stay in bed more than you used to before having insomnia! This way your body will not be tired and it will be more and more difficult to fall asleep. Choose an activity which is not too challenging instead such as walking, or going out with your friends. Continue reading

    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

    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

    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

    5 Healthy habbits when studying

    We don’t need no education
    We don’t need no thought control

    ~Pink Floyd – Another brick in the Wall~

    These days I am kinda busy – you know, exams are close. I think everybody felt at least once that there are too many things to do and the time just isn’t enough, so one post about time management and good practices when studying should be useful.

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    Create a good environment! If you can go to library and stay there it is very good – there you have the motivation and the atmosphere that helps you concentrate better. Of course, there are cases when you can’t use that space – for example if you have something to talk you can’t do it there. Your room can be a good solution too, but here you have more temptations Continue reading

    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

    What should I do to succeed, part 1: fixing goals

    Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
    So tell me what you want, what you really really want

    ~Spice Girls – Wannabe ~

    Apart from tones of hours of work and a little bit of luck, one important ingredient in the success’ recipe is organization – fix your objectives, divide your project on steps and work hard. I’m the adept of planing stuff – how to spend my money, what to visit in holiday, how to get the job I want? I admit, I prefer to organize the most pleasant activities (but I’m working at that) and I’m working in the last minute for the assignments I don’t like, but if I want to change that I strongly believe that only a good schedule can save me.

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    But what’s a good schedule, what are its characteristics? Many projects, interesting in idea, fail in the end because of the organization. Maybe you think that an enterprise’s strategy is completely different from the home management, but both are governed by the same rules – only the context is different.

    And so I arrive at the first point in setting goals – evaluate your situation. In order to obtain something in future it’s very important to know exactly your position. What are your advantages and what are your disadvantages? What can you use? There are people you can count on? What kind of resources you have and how many? Be honest when you answer at all these questions, if you don’t evaluate right the context you have less chances in achieving your goals. This and knowing as accurate as you can what do you want are the main two qualities of purposes.

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    So the next step after you know your situation is to question yourself about what do you really want? What’s really important for you and what you can give up to? Set your priorities! The science of economy considers that the needs of humanity are unlimited whereas the resources are limited. You know your resources, how will you spend them? What are you willing to renounce to in order to get what you want? Don’t forget to answer sincere to not be disappointed afterwards. Here is good to fix some limits too. Don’t renounce at all your free time for your job, don’t sacrifice all your economies for a trip, even if it’s around the world, don’t forget about your friends for a girl/boy you’ve just met!

    Now you know what you want and what’s your situation. How should you get where you want? There is short term and long term and you have already an image of your long term. Divide your idea on steps. Fix an amount of time and money for each step. Leave yourself the possibility of error but try to do a realistic estimation. Work a lot if you want to make your dreams come true. Motivate yourself from once in a while – take short breaks (1-2 days) from your activity or relax a bit and admire your realizations. Your goals must be reachable. Everyone wants to fly but they don’t make a goal out of this simply because … it’s not possible. Concentrate on realistic purposes.

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    Another think I should talk about is the schedule’s trap – if it’s written down it doesn’t mean it has to be that way. You have set your goals and you can reset them. Leave some space for innovation and for improvisation. Enjoy the moment and … good luck in living your dreams!