CRITICAL THINKING – What we think is what we feel

The quote by Jean De La Bruyere: “Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think,” may seem a bit radical; however, according to the premise of cognitive psychology, what we think is what we feel. And at Eklavya School, top CBSE school in Jalandhar, we teach students to think positively!

While many people believe that our feelings precede, or are independent of our thoughts, the truth is that our feelings are products of our thoughts.

This revelation can be both daunting and liberating. Everyone experiences problems from time to time. Some of our problems are big and complicated, while others may be more easily solved. There is no shortage of challenges and issues that can arise on the job. Whether in an office or on a construction site, experiencing difficulties with the tasks at hand or with coworkers, the workplace presents ongoing challenges on a daily basis.

Whether these problems are large or small, they need to be dealt with constructively and fairly. Having the necessary skills to identify solutions to problems is one of the skills that employers look for in employees. Employers say they need a workforce fully equipped with skills beyond the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic to grow their businesses. These skills include critical thinking and problem solving.

According to a Critical Skills Survey by the American Management Association problem solving and critical thinking refers to the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problems. This doesn’t mean we need to have an immediate answer, it means we have to be able to think on our feet, assess problems and find solutions. The ability to develop a well thought out solution within a reasonable time frame, however, is a skill that employers value greatly.

We are thinking critically and in a problem solving mindset when we:

  • Rely on reason rather than emotion
  • Evaluate a broad range of viewpoints
  • Maintain mindset to alternative interpretations
  • Accept new evidence, explanations and findings
  • Are willing to reassess information
  • Can put aside personal prejudices and biases
  • Consider all reasonable possibilities
  • Avoid hasty judgments

Like any other skill, learning problem-solving takes time, perseverance and practice. Knowing which steps to take and how to apply those helps us master the process.

Steps to Critical Thinking As It Relates To Problem Solving:

  1. Identify the Problem. The first task is to determine if a problem exists. Sometimes when we think this point through, we may come to the conclusion that there really isn’t a problem, just a misunderstanding. If that’s the case, fine. If not, and we determine that there is indeed a problem; we need to identify exactly what it is. How systematically someone weighs the pros and cons of a problem and how clearly the person can define and state it, is also an indication of highly developed intelligence.
  2. Analyze the problem; look at it from different angles. Once we’ve determined the problem, analyze it by looking at it from a variety of perspectives. Is it solvable? Is it real or perceived? Can we solve it alone or do we need help? Sometimes by looking at it from many angles we can come up with a resolution right away. we may also reveal a bias or narrow point of view that needs to be broadened.
  3. Brainstorm and come up with several possible solutions. Problems can be solved in many ways. Brainstorm a list of possible solutions. Put down anything that comes to mind and then go over the list and narrow it down to the best possibilities. Having several viable options leads to obtaining the best results.
  4. Decide which solution fits the situation best. We can go over our list of possible solutions. Different situations call for different solutions. Quite often what works in one situation, may not work in a similar one. We can take time to determine what will work best for the problem at hand.
  5. Take action. We can implement our solution. Every problem has a solution; even if it is to accept the situation and move on. Instead of approaching problems and challenges as insurmountable obstacles, we can view them as opportunities to hone our critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Every problem that we are able to resolve increases our self-worth. Thinking critically not only helps us handle future challenges more skillfully, it also broadens our life experience and helps us to look at issues from multiple perspectives.

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