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Before talking about Barriers to Critical Thinking, let’s learn the basic concept of Critical Thinking.
What is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking is when you gather the facts and figures regarding a specific topic, lay it down and actively process, synthesize, observe, apply, use your own experience, analyze, and evaluate to form an opinion to help you make a better decision.
While gathering data, you may come across theories and opinions of various other people. Still, you must analyze it according to your intelligence with an open mind. Only then will you be able to form an opinion that is entirely yours.
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Further, in this article, we will talk about many barriers that come between you and your critical thinking. Make sure you read the next part of the article with an open mind!
Our selfish thoughts do not allow us to see the world differently than what we have perceived it to be. We are not trained to be aware of our selfish thoughts, and so we do not recognize our egocentric assumptions, information, and interpretations. When we have a set, standard way of thinking and fail to understand or even think about adopting new things, our ego does not allow us to think or analyze the new things that come our way critically.
We become prone to our traditional way of life and cannot change because we think that what we have been taught since childhood is the only key to leading our lives. But the question is, how will we grow as a person if we are unable to put our ego aside, critically think about new things, and then decide whether they are worth adopting or not?
Moreover, a person with a narcissistic nature does not think about anyone but himself and cannot sympathize when needed.
Some people struggle with their own identity and usually do not form opinions about arguments. These are the people who need to work on their perspective towards life, build their personality, spend time with themselves, and learn about their desires. They need to find their likes and dislikes so that they start to look at things critically. Their closed-mindedness will not let them form an opinion about anything.
Fear of unknown- Barriers to Critical Thinking
When analyzing a situation critically, we might often reach conclusions that we did not expect, or we’re hoping that we wouldn’t find. Usually, we have a connection to these situations personally, so we cannot deal with them with an open mind. We need to understand that we cannot justify unsolved problems with fear. We must take control of fears because closing our eyes will not change the facts and will surely change the truth. Fear will only make you demotivated, unconfident, and unable to think outside the box. You will lag behind in strategizing and coming up with ideas.
Hunger for answers
The hunger for answers is a great personality trait, but it might become a barrier between you and critical analysis of your problems. People who feel a pressing need to find answers to their curiosity want to find a quick fix to their problems. They are not used to a long process and try to find timeless solutions that might work for them.
They solve their problems, but without doing any real research and spending their minds on it, they end up having the same problems again. So, it is advised to take some time to analyze your problem, do your critical thinking, and then make the decision. Otherwise, you will keep making the same mistakes again and again.
Unfamiliar with the concept
Many people are even unfamiliar with the concept of critical thinking because right from the beginning, they have been spoon-fed with thoughts and opinions to the extent that they are unable to test their intelligence. You might work in an office environment where you have to say ‘Yes’ to your boss, even if you have a different opinion.
In the beginning, you might struggle with this, but over time, it has become a part of you. You became comfortable in following orders. You lost the ability to have your own opinion. That might work for you in the short term, but you may suffer in the long run. So, even if it seems to be a tough job, you might want to gather some courage and work on your skills!
Love our worldview
Some people love the world, just like it is, and wouldn’t want to change a thing because they are socially conditioned. Hence, they not only discourage critical thinking but despise it. They are too comfortable living inside their comfort zone and refraining from thinking about anything that makes them uncomfortable. These people are victims of stereotypical thinking and make it difficult for others to analyze and form their own opinions critically.
You need to understand that the world might seem perfect from your perspective, but there is so much more that should be explored. Exploring is particularly important, as a person and as an organization, because there can be no growth if we stick to the same teachings that have been handed down for generations. The ability to question and critically think helps us grow. Instead of having a stereotypical approach toward everything and classifying it as our love, we need to see things with an open mind.
We live in a fast-track world where everyone is in a rush to get somewhere or do something. In this race against time, people hardly have the time to stop and think, let alone critically analyze. What they don’t understand is that looking at things critically will not only produce better results but will also save time.
Usually, at work, deadlines must be met in short order, so there is no time for critical thinking. We complete our work without critically analyzing the information because the main goal becomes to simply complete the work, rather than completing the work with strategic planning that requires critical thinking in the first place. However, we can overcome this gap in our work to train ourselves to be critical even when the times are tough. This will not only help us in our work but will also be helpful in our daily routine.
We often find ourselves in situations where we must work as a team and present a team task. Teamwork is healthy, but in the case of critical thinking, it is not. When you are within a group, different people from different backgrounds present with different personalities and opinions. There might be people who are way more expressive than the others. They may not let you voice your opinion on a specific topic.
Then, there may be people who have a rigid opinion about some topics, and no matter what arguments are presented, they may not change their opinion. Group work or a group discussion becomes more of an argument between different beliefs and understandings. It does not focus on analyzing and reviewing the data with an open mind to assess it critically.
Nature and Experience- Barriers to Critical Thinking
Nature contributes a lot in relation to the habit of critical thinking. If a person has a biased opinion about everything, he will have a hard time critically evaluating problems. Due to his rigid opinion about some things, he will be unable to make fair, just, and open-minded decisions. This rigidity also restrains a person from using his experience, logical reasoning, and sometimes even common sense. These people cannot see things clearly because their vision is clouded by their biased opinions and lack of open-mindedness.
You might think that your life is going pretty well without having to do any critical thinking. Still, we assure you that if you make a habit of critically evaluating everything, you will improve your life’s quality. It might seem a tough job initially, but in no time you will see that you will be doing it unconsciously. Who minds a skill that helps you make better decisions?
Keep in mind, the key to critical thinking is to have an open mind!