Critical Thinking for Problem Solving

When you use critical thinking techniques to solve problems in your personal or business life, you can be much surer of a satisfying outcome. Critical thinking helps you to discard biases and beliefs and statements that are hurled at us through media outlets and make sense of what is presented. Here are some ways that you can use critical thinking techniques to solve problems in your life:

  1. Identify the Problem – Before you begin to solve a situation or problem, you must first identify it. This means you’ll carefully evaluate every portion of it and how it’s different from how your goals. Critical thinking is the process of thinking before you leap to a conclusion about a situation.
  2. Analyze – After you identify the problem you can analyze it by learning as much about it as possible. Look beyond what’s presented as facts in the situation and seek other perspectives on the matter. Be open-minded as you analyze the problem so that you can discuss it or think about it in a logical way.
  3. Brainstorm Solutions – Think about all implications of the problem and the possibilities of the outcome. What will be the impact of certain solutions and what research can you perform that will offer accurate answers? Are there other, similar, problems that you’ve solved satisfactorily?
  4. Consider Solutions – Carefully consider the implications of each solution – the advantages and disadvantages. Also, think about the process you would go through to solve the problem if you use one solution over another. What will be the immediate and long-term impact of your decision?
  5. Choose a Solution – Before definitely choosing the solution to a situation or problem, you must first determine how suited it is to your goals, how much risk you’ll have to take and how practical your decision will be.

As you go through the process of using critical thinking to solve a problem, use techniques such as writing down what you’re thinking or bounce it off another person. Take time to be sure you’re making the right decision. “Sleep on it” is good advice when you’re striving to problem solve.

Be creative in the critical thinking process. If you run across a new idea or thought you haven’t before considered, don’t dismiss it without gathering evidence and weighing the alternative against others.

Critical thinking will help you design a plan of action based on knowledge and long-terms analyzing rather than on a quick decision that could be detrimental to your short and long term goals.

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