Think Critical! Think Success.   – Reflections from life

Think Critical! Think Success. – Reflections from life

Critical Thinking though essential doesn’t come easy to many of us. It needs regular practice and conscious effort to train the mind to think in this objective way such that Critical Thinking eventually becomes a way of life. This week as we celebrate Critical Thinking Week through Webinars, Newsletters, Tweetchats and posts, we are happy to be joined by Ameya who relates Critical Thinking and its implications with real-world outcomes.

Ameya Ameya Karambe works for Kanakia Group- Mumbai as Senior Manager- Human Resources & Learning. Ameya Karambe is a Masters in “Human Resources” and Graduate in Computer Technology/ Information technology. He has completed his PG from “XLRI Jamshedpur” in HR Human Resource Management. Ameya tweets at @ameyakarambe and blogs at www.ameyakarambe.com

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The word critical thinking seems familiar to many today. Critical thinking consists of two words Critical and Thinking. Critical means critique – critique is a detailed analysis and assessment of something. Thinking could be simply defined as the action to produce ideas, decisions and memories. My personal observation and experience has been that critical thinking is to correctly understand information, a situation or a problem. The intellectual roots of critical thinking can be dated back to 2,500 years ago, where Socrates had discovered things related to critical thinking through probing questioning, which today we refer to as Socratic Questioning. In those days Socrates highlighted the importance of clarity and logical consistency in thinking.

Critical thinking is something you need to practice frequently in your daily life. People who know me personally will tell you that weight training has been an old hobby. I have a gym buddy who regularly travels to the US. One day we met at the gym where he showed me his new pair of shoes. It was by a famous brand which claimed that that the shoes help in toning muscles. I got curious to know how the technology of ergonomics of this toning shoe works. I researched a lot on it and came to a conclusion that it was no better than any other pair of sneakers. I communicated this to my friend and he thought that I was just saying for the sake of it. I changed my fitness routine and I hardly met him. Months passed by and we met again. We were discussing about our fitness routines and I showed him my new Vibram. He asked me “did you research before buying this too”? I laughed and said “Yes I did very much”. He said “I regret laughing at you when you told me about my shoes. I fell prey to the deceptive advertisement”. He told me that he came to know about a research on the self-claimed muscle toning shoes that suggested the shoes were no better than regular sneakers. My eyes opened to the fact that the need for critical thinking among consumers is increasing daily. I also felt a need for critical thinking on the part of the seller – who I later learnt was sued by another customer. It is possible that the marketers are smart and are exploiting the consumers’ weakness- time for the consumer to get smarter in thinking and think critically.

As HR professionals when we interview candidates we note that a lot of candidates are unable to explain their particular skills and experiences in a way that convince the hiring manager of the value they will add. Generally a candidate who is a critical thinker shall come prepared with these aspects. A critical thinker will keep the perspective of value addition to the organization in mind, analyze the situation and answer appropriately.

Another example I would like to quote is of a person who works as a senior professional and happens to be a close friend. He used to be regularly late for meetings and many times ended-up defaulting the payments of creditors. (Since I knew him personally, I had spoken to him and cautioned him of the consequences. Nevertheless, his approach had been casual.) When his company’s HR team ran a critical thinking assessment for its existing employees, not very surprisingly he scored low on the critical thinking ability. That is when I could clearly observe the relationship between critical thinking and its real-world outcomes. Since then, I started thinking and believing that may be critical thinking can predict real-world outcomes and workplace performance as well. Post that I have come across many situations which have strengthened my belief that critical thinking is very important for success.

A famous quote says – Experience teaches slowly, and at the cost of mistakes. I have shifted my career from a glamorous IT field to super glamorous HR domain. If I would have realized and thought critically when I passed my SSC exams, if I would have analyzed what I do best, if only I would have thought critically, I probably would have landed in HR earlier. I am a firm believer of whatever happens, happens for good- the cross domain experience helps me immensely today. However the reason of highlighting the same is to put light on the importance of critical thinking in a student’s life.

In corporate world today we use the Watson-Glaser critical thinking tool to measure some aspects of critical thinking and if you ask my personal opinion on the tool it is helping us predict aspects of performance.
Are you worried about thinking critically? Relax -luckily critical thinking is primarily a skill and can be learnt. Pearson’s Critical Thinking University is a good tool to acquire these skills.

Think Critical! Think Success.

By Ameya Karambe

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