In my original post in this series ( http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ), I discussed the 10 critical skills you need to succeed in the chaotic job market of the next few years. Today, I would like to talk about the #2 skill, Critical Thinking.
Just What is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking is one of “those terms.” It has risen to near the top of skills employers are now seeking. Go search for a good definition though, and what you get is a lot of big words and phrases difficult to decipher.
Here is a list of elements involved in Critical Thinking stated in simple English:
- The ability to analyze the way you think.
- A self-directed way of thinking using high standards of excellence.
- A systematic, methodical approach to problem-solving.
- The ability to think independently.
- The ability to separate rational arguments from emotional ones.
Why is Critical Thinking Important to Me?
You are a Freelancer. You hire yourself out to clients and companies to work on various types of projects. Robots and software technology are replacing people at ever-increasing rates. What is the one skill technology doesn’t have? Human judgment.
This is where critical thinking comes in. Good critical thinking skills give you the ability to:
- Identify a bad or false argument.
- Build and present good arguments.
- Think better and more clearly.
- Develop the ability to see things in new and different ways.
- Question the status quo.
Here is the challenge. The human brain does not think logically. It makes most of its decisions on emotion and/or preconceived ideas. Having made a decision, people then go back and justify it with logic. What’s worse is once a person has made a decision they will defend it to the death, no matter how wrong it turns out to be.
Developing critical thinking skills helps you arrive at better, more logical decisions at the beginning of the process.
These are the skills employers are buying today. Doing things the same old way doesn’t cut it anymore. Now clients want new and different ways of accomplishing things. Making progress requires shaking things up.
How Can I Learn to be a Better Thinker?
There are lots of online resources to get you started. Google “Learn Critical Thinking,” and you’ll get about 29 million results. One challenge here is language. Many of these resources read like college psychology texts (read boring and difficult to comprehend). My research turned up a couple of good sources I think you will enjoy.
The first is a website for “The Critical Thinking Community.” This link ( http://bit.ly/2xrZtj7 ) will take you to a page that starts you on a path to learning about critical thinking. If you want to take your education further, there are a lot of wonderful resources on the site. You can join the community for free.
There are lots of books on this subject as well. One of the most readable I found was “Critical Thinking for Dummies,” by Martin Cohen. This book delivers a plain English approach to the subject I think you will enjoy. I have included a link below if you would like to order this terrific book. (Full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate.)