4 Easy Ways to Improve Critical Thinking

4 Easy Ways to Improve Critical Thinking – on this episode of Curves Welcome with Suzie Carr

Most of us want to have more influence over things that matter to us. If you want to effectively lead others in any capacity, and this can be as a parent, coach, employee, employer, community member, in other words, in every conceivable life experience where you want to bring the best to a situation, you need to be able to think critically.

In this episode, we take a look at 4 simple tips:

  1. Being self-critical
  2. Becoming a better listener
  3. Gathering facts
  4. Developing a forward-thinking mentality

Show Links:

Success Magazine article

Forbes Coaches Council article

Listen to this episode here


please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect

[Music] hey thanks for joining me today for this episode of curves welcome a podcast about facing and embracing the curves of life if this is your first time tuning in this is Suzie Carr most of us want to have more influence over things that matter to us when I first started out in my role of marketing in higher education I lacked some serious skills in the influence Department I found myself sitting around the conference table listening to the ideas of the rest of the team and finding myself unable to contribute fresh ideas that would stimulate better outcomes and set me up for the team to view me as a valuable asset although I had been in marketing for a few years at that point I wasn’t experienced with marketing to a higher education audience so I suffered a little bit from impostor syndrome wondering if they’d eventually figure out that I had no clue what I was doing and maybe just maybe they had made the wrong decision in hiring me I stressed about this for a while as I dug my heels in and tried to Rack my brain for something creative something influential just something that would make me appear as someone more than a yes person agreeing with everything everyone else came up with instead of contributing something new this frustrated me on so many levels because I had been successful in other marketing roles these ideas surely could transfer over to higher ed the longer I worked in that environment the more I grew confident that you know what yeah I did in fact have the creative skills and the know-how to contribute on a level that truly mattered I knew I had it in me to be creative but something was blocking me from bringing my best ideas to the table and helping the team create something valuable for our University it took me a while to find my footing and figure out a way to flip that switch from being a seat warmer – a real contributor who people started to take seriously so how did I do this I’ll tell you that it required that I admit I needed some tweaking in the development department I had a lot of great skills but I still had so much to learn about one of the most important skills that everyone needs which is to be a critical thinker what is critical thinking in short it’s the ability to take in data analyze and evaluate it then from there formulate an educated opinion about it and then share that opinion with others why is it so important well listen if you want to effectively lead others in any capacity and this can be as a parent a coach and employee and employer a community member in other words in every conceivable life experience where you want to bring the best to a situation you need to be able to think critically according to Forbes coach counsel three characteristics of thinking critically include being decisive resourceful and organized why are these traits so important well being decisive is necessary in situations where people are looking to you to make a tough decision and make it with a confidence that they can get behind and support the second component being resourceful is thinking outside the box and this can be crucial in those times when obstacles stand in the way of progress and then the third component being organized allows the solving of a problem to take on a systemic approach where all facets are considered and the best answer can be implemented with confidence okay so all of this is great information right but what happens if you are not a decisive resourceful or organized thinker by nature does this mean that you’ll never acquire this critical thinking skill and therefore be subject to living a life but other people’s leadership and standards in my case I was told that I needed this skill by a former director she sat me down and spoke frankly with me during a performance review providing me with honest feedback that at first made me cringe and so angry and in retrospect it changed my life for the better being a critical thinker requires skills and it also requires an open mind I knew deep down I needed to open up to this beneficial criticism I wanted to improve the way I interacted and contributed to my team and the only way to do that was to listen to feedback of someone who had these skills and open up to learning how to improve my life let’s pause here for a moment and take a look at Locke in development like with anything else a little luck goes a long way if you don’t do anything but that’s the catch if you don’t do anything you will need luck on your side because that’s the only way things will shift in your favor without any effort on your part in my experience I could have taken my directors feedback and tucked it away ignoring it and carrying on as a seat warmer at the conference table I could have waited on luck to sweep in to help me prosper you know some lucky stroke of information that would lift me and show off some creative part of my brain that I didn’t even know existed but if you’re not person then building the soft skill of critical thinking could help you out in life as it did me I like those odds better than waiting on luck if you need a little help in the critical thinking Department like I did it’s all good there are ways to increase the skill and by doing so you may find yourself in a better position to have influence over those areas of your life that you really want to impact be it with your career friends family health or a creative endeavor that’s calling your heart towards it you’re listening to the lesbian talk show the lesbian so check on your hub of podcast information here are some tips that I gathered from the experts at Success Magazine and I will put a link to this article in the show notes tip number one become self-critical I know this sounds a little bit negative for someone who is always proposing positivity but stick with me here for a minute critical has such an unfairly negative connotation attached to it don’t you think the reason being self-critical is beneficial is because it’s an incredibly useful way to grow by questioning yourself you open up to helpful analysis and this is a great way to prevent the ego from closing you off from possibility without digging deep you risk only flirting with the surface and not understanding the complexities beyond what is obvious the best way to get around what you’ve always known and done is to challenge yourself to think outside the borders by asking what exists there what does it offer and how can that information add value to my current circumstance tip number two become an active listener if we have our sense of hearing it should be pretty easy to listen right not exactly most of us think that we are listening to someone when what we are actually doing is thinking over their words so what we get is small pieces of information interspersed with our own beliefs we miss a lot when we combine a listening and thinking to truly listen means to put our ideals aside and tune into what someone else is saying with all of our senses we ask them questions based on what they are saying so as to engage and lift conversation to a level where we can empathize and understand the reasons motivations and feelings behind someone’s words becoming an active listener is not about sitting still and quiet think of it as a volleyball session where you toss a question they answer and you toss additional questions based on their answers you do this all with a goal of walking away from that conversation with a better understanding of how you can help support and enrich the person seeking possible solutions or understanding in the case of critical thinking when you collect vital information in this manner you are given yourself more clues to solve issues influence others and lead with credibility tip number three learn how to analyze to make informed decisions and engage with creativity you need to understand how the pieces fit together you can’t write a convincing and compelling novel if you don’t show how all the characters act feel and ultimately claim their victories now to write a convincing story you must analyze all the components the setting the narrative the motives the flaws the strengths the trials and tribulations to be successful in your efforts you need to take all the facts lay them all out before you and explore them with an objective eye leaving your pride and your preconceived notions aside objectivity is Queen and critical thinking it allows us a space to explore alternatives to our own dominant thoughts the final tip number 4 develop a forward-thinking mindset it is hard to get where you are going if you don’t know where that is planning can help direct your actions and prevent wasting time and precious energy so if you have a problem that needs fixing whether that’s around a conference table filled with professionals looking to you to jump in and help or that’s within the pages of a novel that requires you make critical decisions about your characters deepest motives you need to take time to think forward what impact will an action have on a company a relationship or the outcome of a novel as a result of a possible decision who will be affected how will they be affected if you don’t propose a certain action thinking through possible future scenarios in this manner will help you better evaluate the potential success of your contribution to a meeting conversation or creative project critical thinking is a skill that empowers some of the greatest leaders communicators and teachers in this world they succeed in career relationships and creative endeavors because they understand that to get to a point where others listen and respond to their ideas requires that they shed the need to hold tightly to their own ideals so that they can objectively acquire new concepts that push them past old standards and towards new ways of doing things of interacting of building opportunities that can lift them to greater spaces spaces where real impacts are made if you are like I used to be uncomfortable with breaking free of old paradigms and suffering in silence at the loss of achievement as a result take a moment to reflect on what you are trying to accomplish I would like to challenge you to ask yourself these questions to jumpstart your critical thinking what will it take for you to make impacts in the areas that you crave to change why is it imperative that you do how will it add value and finally who will benefit as a result of your actions or decisions to sum up critical thinking ask great questions my friend and you’ll get great answers so hey friends thanks a lot for spending some time with me today while listening to my podcast curves welcome I also want to thank all who have become patrons of my patreon page your support means a great deal to me for more information on joining me on this journey and gaining access to special rewards visit the link in the show notes be sure to follow the lesbian talk show to keep up on the latest episodes and lastly the lesbian talk show also has a patreon page I’ll include a link to it in the show notes as well so thanks for tuning in until next time go out there and continue to learn grow and embrace life’s curves