How to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

Want your career to skyrocket to the next level? It’s time to put on your thinking cap. Exceptional critical thinking skills are the cornerstone to any successful venture; whether you are a freelance artist or office-bound tech specialist. But more often than not, our critical thinking skills can get stifled over time by our day to day routine. As more complex problems and projects arise, we soon become overwhelmed; hitting a critical thinking deep freeze. Here are some tips to help you break through the ice and improve your critical thought process.

Just the Basic Facts

The key to understanding any complicated problem is to look at the facts. We can sometimes get caught up in the “what ifs” of a problem. Taking a long hard look at the data can help you break the problem down to the source, revealing the sometimes elusive solution that may be staring you right in the face.

Tap into Your Inner Sherlock

Once you have broken the problem down into more manageable parts, begin sourcing and analyzing the material. Sometimes determining from where each part of the problem stems can point you in the right direction to solving the problem in its entirety.

Call in Reinforcements

Once you have solid data to share, approach your team and get some feedback. Working together can help you see the problem from a few different angles; a different perspective can make all the difference in solving a complex problem.

Talk to the Guru

Everyone has an expert they look up to in the workplace. Email, call, IM; do what you have to do get in touch with your guru. Lay out the facts, your current findings and ask them for advice. Once you have gained some guru insight, ask them how they came to these conclusions. Taking a closer look at their problem-solving train of thought can really help you improve your own critical thinking process in the future.

Hone Your Skills

Read. Write. Research. No one is a total “expert” in their trade. Be investigative, seek out any knowledge you can regarding current trends, problems, or developments in your field; the more complex, the better. This will hone your critical thinking skills and help you gain vital insight regarding upcoming issues your firm may face.

Get Involved

If others are seen to be struggling with their current project, ask them if they need a hand. The best way to learn is to do. Be proactive with problem solving; you sometimes learn more lending a helping hand than heading a project yourself.

Be Open Minded

Working with tunnel vision will kill your critical thinking process. An open mind will allow you to tackle any problem or project. If all roads point west, and you still can’t see the solution – look east.

The key to harnessing the true power of critical thought is to use your ability to seek out a deep understanding of the most rigorous challenges you face in the workplace. Learning how to turn the enigmatic into the practical can release you from the dumbfounding “deep freeze.” If you do get stuck, remember these basic principles of critical thought; and your potential for continued progress is limitless.


Photo via See-ming