How to Improve your Critical Thinking With Mindfulness

Critical thinking done proper is uncommon. Despite how analytical we believe we are our; it is not in our nature to do so objectively -- and that my friends is the core element of critical thinking. Much of our thinking, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed and sometimes prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce depends largely on the quality of our thought. Go figure.

 

What is critical thinking and why is it critical to business?

By definition via criticalthinking.org:

Critical thinking is that mode of thinking - about any subject, content, or problem - in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.

The average critical thinking process is generally comprised of elements including:

  • Identifying an issue from a question and/or problem
  • Developing well reasoned conclusion and solutions to analyze arguments
  • Thinking and listening open-mindedly
  • Using analytical thought systems and creative thinking techniques
  • Preparing and presenting powerful arguments to be effectively communicated

Reading between the lines, critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. There seems to be a disconnect between what critical thinking requires, but what the process entails. Despite so much discussion of self there is nothing to indicate attitudes, feelings and emotions. Things that make up, impact and bias the “self”. Why do we generally stay away from these words that mean so much to our everyday life?

At its core critical thinking requires you to know your ‘self’ - to be objective, you first must be subjective. Look inward.

 

How does mindfulness enhance critical thinking?

The critical thinking process requires you to get to the root of the problem and to, identify the issue and do an objective accounting of the options you have - this path or the other. The best way to be objective is to first be subjective. Look inward. This process will uncover your biases, allowing you consciously remove them to ensure for an objective critical thinking process.

Is this really a problem/question?

Honestly ask yourself if this problem/question matters to anyone other than you? If brainstorming through a new service offering or product line, are you sure that your target market will be invested?  If yes, does it matter to enough people to warrant the time to investigate and potentially solve it?

Has anyone already attempted to answer/solve this problem/question?

While this question does not necessarily rule out the need to critically investigate the problem;  it may show you others biases as well as your own. Especially if you are planning to attack the problem the same exact way. Additionally, it could give you a foundation from which to begin analytical arguments. In other words, @@do not reinvent the wheel if you do not have to@@. Do not waste time arriving to the same conclusions as others, the same way. Research and investigate and see if you can develop a new approach or answer.

Work smarter not harder. Reinventing the wheel is a waste of time and resources.

 

It takes consistent practice 

With practice, these questions can be addressed relatively quickly. You will become more and more aware of your own personal biases. You are adding a much needed layer to the critical thinking process by taking a breath and considering what you are observing. You will be able to address the issue more objectively, with emotions out of the way. Next, you can clarify the issues and arguments, establish context and credibility, check for consistency and evaluate the arguments to provide a better decision that you can stand by.

@@Mindfulness, whether we are aware or not, is the backdrop to our everyday life.@@ We have to commit to mindfully incorporate it as a daily practice. This will provide you with more objectivity and clarity as information is presented to be assessed. Mindfulness slows things down so we can be more deliberate in our personal critical thinking process.

 

Critical thinking isn't the only business building activity that could use improving from time to time. How you communicate, how you define your target market, how you define your business -- each of these are equally as important, and there's a guide free for each one in the Aspire Guides. Get access now by joining the Insiders newsletter below.