And to become an effective critic of your thinking, you have to make learning about thinking a priority. How much of your thinking is vague, muddled, inconsistent, inaccurate, illogical, or superficial?
However, to maximize the quality of your thinking, you must learn how to become an effective "critic" of your thinking.
For each example, we provide a brief overview of the idea and its importance in thinking, along with strategies for applying it in life.
Realize that the following ideas are immersed in a cluster of ideas within critical thinking.
What do you really know about how to analyze, evaluate, or reconstruct your thinking? Have you ever discovered a significant problem in your thinking and then changed it by a conscious act of will?
Ask yourself these — rather unusual — questions: What have you learned about how you think? What do you know about how the mind processes information? Are you, in any real sense, in control of your thinking? Do you have any conscious standards for determining when you are thinking well and when you are thinking poorly?What is relevant directly bears upon (helps solve) the problem you are trying to solve. Their questions make real problems explicit and discipline their thinking through those problems. Notice when you are unwilling to listen to the views of others, when you simply see yourself as right and others as wrong. We all engage in numerous dysfunctional practices to avoid facing problems in our thinking.When thinking drifts away from what is relevant, it needs to be brought back to what truly makes a difference. If you become a student of questions, you can learn to ask powerful questions that lead to a deeper and more fulfilling life. Ask yourself at those moments whether their views might have any merit. Consider the following and ask yourself how many of these dysfunctional ways of thinking you engage in: As you see, the list is almost laughable. Only when we are faced with the absurdity of dysfunctional thinking, and can see it at work in our lives, do we have a chance to alter it.These ideas represent just a few of the many ways in which disciplined thinkers actively apply theory of mind to the mind by the mind in order to think better.In these examples, we focus on the significance of thinking clearly, sticking to the point (thinking with relevance), questioning deeply, and striving to be more reasonable.Improvement in thinking, in other words, is similar to improvement in other domains of performance where progress is a product of sound theory, commitment, hard work, and practice.Consider the following key ideas, which, when applied, result in a mind practicing skilled thinking.But vague, ambiguous, muddled, deceptive, or misleading thinking are significant problems in human life. In closing, let me remind you that the ideas in this article are a very few of the many ways in which critical thinkers bring intellectual discipline to bear upon their thinking.If we are to develop as thinkers, we must learn the art of clarifying thinking, of pinning it down, spelling it out, and giving it a specific meaning. When people explain things to you, summarize in your own words what you think they said. The best thinkers are those who understand the development of thinking as a process occurring throughout many years of practice in thinking. If you are like most, the only honest answers to these questions run along the lines of, “Well, I suppose I really don’t know much about my thinking or about thinking in general. I don’t know how I test it, or even if I do test it. But if you focus your attention for a moment on the role that thinking is playing in your life, you may come to recognize that, in fact, everything you do, or want, or feel is influenced by your thinking. If anyone asked you to teach them what you have learned, thus far in your life, about thinking, would you really have any idea what that was or how you learned it?