11 Qualities of a Critical Thinker

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  • 23 Dec 2023
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The capacity to think critically is one of the most valuable skills to have in life. Many employers value it since it helps someone to sift through information and distinguish between what is valuable and what is not.

Overall, it is our ability to assess information and make sound judgment calls. But what does that involve exactly? What attributes of a critical thinker should we emphasize?

This is significant since a critical thinker has a distinct set of features and perspective. After all, being a critical thinker is more than just acquiring knowledge. They are evaluating it and using it to make decisions and resolve issues.

It's simple to assess your critical thinking skills. Because this is a talent, you can use skill tests in this section. Consider the Critical Thinking Test or Wabisabi Learning's Critical Thinking Assessment, which include six categories: questioning abilities, information use, maintaining an open mind, drawing conclusions, communication and collaboration, and self-awareness.

However, another option is to compare your current skill set to the qualities listed below. There are various abilities that contribute to the qualities of a critical thinker, but as long as you compare the proper skill to the other, you should be able to advance in this field.

1. Having Curiosity

You must be curious about your surroundings and the world in order to be an effective critical thinker. Curious people begin the learning process by asking a question and then looking for an answer.

However, they do this for a wide range of topics rather than just one. As a result, it's safe to conclude that they have a healthy curiosity about the world and people. They have an appreciation, if not a curiosity, with cultures, beliefs, and points of view that differ from their own but are also compatible with their own.

2. Being Compassionate

Critical thinking does not require a high level of intelligence. While having those talents is vital, it's also important to remember that we're still human, with emotional and instinctual aspects.

The world is already filled with judgment and segregation, so focusing solely on the facts and digesting it won't help much.

Remember that everyone has a narrative that shaped them into the people they are today. We've all faced obstacles and experiences that have changed our life into the people we are today. Critical thinkers see this and celebrate everyone's individuality.

3. Having High Awareness

The importance of awareness cannot be overstated. This trait enables us to recognize when we need to utilize critical thinking.

The more you are aware of everything, the more opportunities you will see to apply these skills. All of this requires you to be tuned in to the world and present.

Skepticism is a healthy trait in critical thinkers. They don't believe all they hear. They will rely on other abilities. Whether it's via asking questions, demonstrating curiosity, or doing something else.

As a critical thinker, this trait serves as the foundation for problem-solving abilities.

4. Being Decisive

Problems that necessitate critical thought frequently necessitate rapid and immediate response. Critical thinking involves analyzing our options and picturing the probable implications of our actions, as well as how quickly they can be implemented.

Set aside your own worries when making decisions to do this. You must sometimes accept that you will not have all of the information you require. Accepting that not every decision is the best is critical.

5. Having Total Honesty

As they say, honesty is the best policy, but it's also essential as a critical thinker.

Moral integrity, ethical consideration, and our behaviors are all traits of critical thinkers. And it all originates from their candor.

Honesty extends to how we see ourselves and accept who we are. It necessitates managing our emotions, controlling our impulses, and recognizing when we are misleading ourselves. These things are what make us human, so we can't get rid of them.

As a result, critical thinkers tolerate not only those around them, but also themselves.

6. Having Willingness

This is a trait that goes hand in hand with adaptability.

Consider this analogous to the growth mindset: if we lack willingness or flexibility, our attitude toward learning will be non-existent. We will also oppose change and accept whatever we or others tell us. This is akin to having a fixed attitude.

When we have these talents, we learn to alter our opinions, make changes, and have a desire to learn and grow in other areas. We have a sharp eye for development.

7. Being Creative

While you might not think of critical thinkers as creative, they are. Because so many roles require innovative and creative answers, creativity is crucial for a critical thinker.

Consider marketing and professional relationships; both demand inventiveness. Consider the concept of innovation, which is nothing more than rearranging the conventions of a certain industry to create something new.

8. Thinking Analytically

Of course, the ability to analyze information is a crucial characteristic of critical thinkers. Critical thinkers examine and analyze numerous types of information, such as reports, claims, business models, and relationships.

Being able to divide information into sections and evaluate them individually and collectively is a good application of analytical skills.

9. Drawing Inference

Not all information is given to us. There is a lot that can be deduced. It is critical to be able to evaluate information and draw judgments based on data and evidence.

There is, however, a distinction between inferring something and forming assumptions. What would you think if I told you I weighed 230 pounds?

It is assumed that you have determined that I am overweight or unhealthy. However, inferring would entail considering additional data points such as height and body composition when calculating what a healthy weight for a person is.

10. Communicating Clearly

Critical thinkers express themselves clearly. They can explain and communicate in a clear and simple manner. As a result, they are active and attentive listeners.

Critical thinking is a tool for developing and expressing ideas, which includes explaining the path of reasoning and thought process.

11. Determining Relevance

The ability to determine what is and isn't valuable is a final attribute of a critical thinker. It all comes down to judging the usefulness of information.

To improve this ability, consider what information is most important, significant, and relevant to your position. There are numerous instances where information may appear to be relevant but is not in this particular context. On the other hand, while the knowledge may be significant and relevant, it may not be critical in resolving the current challenges.

Overall, you must be able to examine the source material and evaluate whether it is logically relevant to the situation at hand.

Final Thoughts

A critical thinker's qualities are diverse, and there is no single set of talents that defines a critical thinker. Critical thinkers included Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Henry Ford, and many others. But how they tackled their concerns and challenges varied greatly.

Remember that we don't have to be like them; instead, concentrate on some of the characteristics that distinguished them as outstanding thinkers. The qualities I stated earlier should be beneficial to you on this quest.

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