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Why Is Critical Thinking Important?

An overview of the importance and benefits of Critical Thinking, including links to scientific research.

Critical Thinking is important for everyone

Critical Thinking is about being aware of the decisions we make. To understand this more, let’s take a moment to break down why we make decisions in the first place.

Almost every decision we make is done to offset three critical stressors:

  • Physical stress
  • Emotional stress
  • Material/financial stress

At one point or another, we’ve all experienced these forms of stress. What’s more, any one of them can trigger the others. It goes without saying that they can be a pain to manage, especially if you happen to be dealing with all three. However, becoming aware of these basic motivations can be enlightening and enable us to make decisions from a place of wisdom and clarity, rather than fear or even desperation.

The good news is that we automatically perform some aspects of Critical Thinking regularly. We can all improve upon and ultimately master these skills we naturally possess.

So, now that we know more about why we make decisions, let’s take a look at some benefits of thinking critically.

“Having advanced Critical Thinking skills leads to better interpersonal, business, and financial outcomes and is a protective factor against negative outcomes.”
Butler et al. (2012)
Developing Critical Thinking provides us with the resources to correctly assess the information we receive and successfully present an argument. It’s also a sort of antidote to the prejudices and cognitive biases that can prevent us from developing our full mental and social potential as humans. With Critical Thinking, we become proactive agents rather than passive spectators in our daily lives. We develop specific techniques that allow us to deal effectively with difficult problems, situations or choices.
“Critical Thinking prevents individuals from being susceptible to manipulation. Moreover, critical thinking allows people to solve problems more creatively, independently, and effectively.”
Stenberg & Halpern, 2020

The Science

Cambridge University’s psychology department published a study in 2020 about developing Critical Thinking skills. The authors pointed out that a person trained to think critically makes better decisions.
“92% of business leaders believe that the most significant skill a person needs to have in order to be successful both at work and academically is Critical Thinking.”
Educational Testing Service (2013)

Critical Thinking at work

Let’s take a look at some important data about why it’s important to utilize Critical Thinking for your career. If Critical Thinking is about using your awareness to make decisions, then it’s not a stretch to say that it could be one of the most valuable tools for being successful in business.
““Critical Thinking” surpassed “innovation” as the highest ranked skill set needed in the workplace for the new century.”
Casner-Lotto, Jill. (2006)

Learning Critical Thinking will improve quality of life

“After Critical Thinking training, individuals provided better arguments, identified more cause-effect relationships, made better decisions, and considered more observations. (SMEs; e.g., Cohen et al., 1998)”
Cohen at al. (1998)
A well-developed set of Critical Thinking skills builds self empowerment and confidence. It enables you to efficiently gather knowledge, quickly process information, and intelligently analyze data. Armed with critical thinking tools, you will be able to confidently adapt to most issues, in life or work.
“Critical Thinking helps students develop competencies that will serve them throughout their professional lives”
Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig, and Jones. (2000)

Whether at work or throughout our daily lives, the ability to think critically can be the difference between achieving our goals or falling short. Every decision we make impacts the future. With Conscious Creative Critical Thinking, we have the awareness to understand more long term implications than without.

As mentioned earlier, we make decisions all the time, sometimes without awareness at all. How many of those unconscious choices have impacted our lives without us knowing it? With a heightened awareness, Critical Thinking allows us to make fewer decisions “in the dark” and be active participants in the decision making process, making us captains of our own ship.

Now that we understand more of the benefits, let’s take a look at how to engage with Critical Thinking.

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How to Develop Critical Thinking Skills

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