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.

    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

    The best decision for both – choosing the perfect dog for you

    Oh lord it’s a dogs life
    Oh lord it’s a dogs life dogs life
    I’m feeling Kinda Irie
    It’s bubbling inside me
    Straight up it’s a dogs life
    ~Kottonmouth kings~

    Dogs seem to be the perfect animals for every family so maybe it’s time to bring one to your home too! By simply following a few pieces of advice you will get a perfect companion for you and the ones you love.

  • Talk to a veterinarian
  • A specialist can give you the best information you need about certain breeds and can help you make the best choice without being subjective as dog breeders can prove to be. You can also find out about what diseases the breed is most likely to have, and how to prevent and protect against them.

  • Ponder family’s daily routine.
  • Are you or is someone else home frequently enough to feed, walk and take care of the pet? That’s not even half of it – a dog needs to feel loved and wanted, and they’re really dependent on their feelings. Also, think if the animal has enough place to run, and do all those things that if absent, make the dog unhappy.

  • Think about your family, and talk to them!
  • If there are small children in your home, choose a breed that is known to be fond of children preferably not a very large one. Check for allergies, aggressivity, among others. Also, a surprise puppy can be just fantastic, the best present in the world! But if somebody is allergic, or doesn’t like puppies… wouldn’t be that much of a surprise Continue reading

    8 DONT’s at a business party

    Whoa! I feel nice, like sugar and spice
    I feel nice, like sugar and spice
    So nice, so nice, I got you
    ~James Brown~

    A party at your working place might very well turn out to be really boring. However, it can also be a very good opportunity to have fun or it can be very useful – creating new relationships with coworkers is almost always a good thing. Still, be careful about having TOO much fun; you don’t want to be that drunk guy dancing on the table, nor the girl stripping by the boss! If you’re not sure what to do in order to avoid embarrassing situations, these following tips are definitely a good start:

    1. Don’t drink too much!

    Photo by steele_chas

    Alcohol will make you lose your inhibitions and will change your behavior. Even if you think it can’t affect you a glass of wine or a cocktail should be enough. Remember, perception is everything so you should not create a bad impression about yourself!

    2. Be careful about interactions!

    Even if a party might show you another side of your colleagues, try to ignore the new feelings as they can lead to disaster! Also try not to act provocative in order to be respected. If you’re in a … really good relationship with a coworker of the opposite sex, displaying yourself at your workplace is not something you’d want to do, especially at a party.

    3. Don’t wear provocative clothes!

    If you would not wear something on another occasion then don’t wear it now. Be elegant and try to attract attention only by your style and not by bad taste. Also, especially for women, provocative clothes at business parties always create an unwanted image for you. 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.

    credits photo

    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.

    Credits photo

    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.

    Credits photo

    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!

    Taking chances vs not taking chances

    Photo by Giorgio Tomassetti

    He deals the cards to find the answer
    The sacred geometry of chance
    The hidden law of probable outcome
    The numbers lead a dance
    ~Sting – Shape of My Heart~

    Whether you believe in fate or that you totally make your life, you have to agree that what decisions you make decide who you are. It’s paradoxical in a way, but sometimes your decisions decide for you. There’s no magic recipe for making the right decisions or something like that; the huge (or not so huge) amount of things you have to take into consideration when making a decision has to be analyzed, and most of the time there’s no right decision, and usually two appear: one that’s more daring, and the other one that’s more conservative.

    Photo by Eduardo Cavasotti

    Making the right call every time is not possible; making the right call as most of the times as possible… that’s the point. Have you ever watched House MD ? If not, you really should. A significant part of the show is aimed at finding the right diagnosis of a certain patient, through more or less orthodox means. House (the main character) almost always takes chances; but the chances he takes are always (or almost always) less riskier than not taking a chance would be.

    House MD. Photo by mabe85

    These days you see a lot of people who haven’t become as good as they could have, simply because they were afraid to follow their dream. On the other hand, you see a lot of waitresses who wanted to be actresses. So where do you stand? Myself, I’m a believer in taking chances. But not crazy 1 in a million chances – I’m talking about calculated, logical risks where the positive outcome has realistic chances of happening. Taking a chance just for the sake of it… may make you feel good for a while, but it won’t last and the odds are you’ll regret it. If you really believe you can win based on logical arguments, then you should go for it. There are some things that could help you remove obstacles from achieving that:

  • Don’t think about what others think. It’s always good to listen to other opinions, but if they come from strangers you can’t trust them, and if they come from people you trust they’re biased, which makes them useless. So listen carefully whenever somebody tells you something that could influence your decision – rely on somebody other than yourself only when you’re 100% sure it’s the right thing to do.
  • Put the good and the bad in balance. Even when you’re sure you’re going to make the right call and things will come out your way, think about something to do even if it doesn’t go how you estimated.
  • Have a backup plan. This is extremely useful when you’re going to take risks. The more risks you fail, the more you will win; or lose. Or both ! When you lose, it’s better to have a backup plan so you can rebound and take a risk another day.
  • Nobody wants mediocrity; if you don’t live your life to the fullest, you’ve practically wasted it. So get your priorities straight and whatever it is you want to get… go get it! There’s no tomorrow, there’s no next time.
  • Photo by AksZindagi

    Still… the coin has two sides. For example, for every aspiring actor that actually got to the carreer he wanted, there’s 19 others that didn’t. Number don’t lie. Also, even when you’re sure you can achieve your goal, your senses could be deceived and the fall from a dream is really painful. Also, when in pursuit of a dream, breaking away from reality is quite possible, and it should be avoided… because most of the times it will only mean a harder fall.

    Whenever you choose to take or not to take a risk, you define yourself, because you’re not making a singulary decision, but you’re going towards the same decision you’re always going to make in this sort of situation.This depends on your personality and your case, but you shouldn’t be influenced by something else other than that. Again, a calculated risk is definitely the way to go, at least that’s how it seems for me. What about you?