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Truly Smart People Go Through These 4 Stages To Develop Their Critical Thinking Abilities

Truly Smart People Go Through These 4 Stages To Develop Their Critical Thinking Abilities

Simply getting more information won’t make you smarter

Everyone wants to be smarter. Sometimes, we’re just amazed by those who can think quickly and deeply. To be like them, we easily make the assumption that the larger our knowledge bases are, the smarter we become. While this assumption is true in some sense, it doesn’t present the whole picture. Compared with how much information we come across, it’s more important to pay attention to how we interpret the information.

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To ensure that we can absorb information more efficiently, we have to work on improving on our critical thinking skills. Actually, all truly smart people have gone through the following four stages to gain their well-developed minds. Check the following to see which critical thinking stage you’re staying at now and how you can reach the final stage:[1]

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Level 1 thinker: believing in what others tell you.

When you fail to think independently, you will start to believe everything the majority tells you. People at this level of thinking tend to believe what other people or society tell them to believe. To change this mindset, it all starts with you. You should feel confident in your ability to use your own mind to solve your own problems. So, stop relying on the majority and start to think on your own.[2]

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Level 2 thinker: trapped in binary opposition.

Do you think in terms of binary? If so, you may view the world as either black or white. You are unable to accept the ambiguities in your everyday life. You might find that you fall into the trap of confirmation bias, which means that you only accept information compatible with your stance and simply filter out opposing ideas. So, learn to recognize the in-between area’s in your everyday life and stop filtering out opposing ideas. Absorb different areas of interest and learn to look at things from new angles.

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Level 3 thinker: being able to see things from more than one dimension.

This type of thinker is able to judge things from more than one dimension. For example, when buying a cup, they know that cups with higher prices are more durable, and cups with lower quality cost less money. They can see the pros and cons in everything and are able to judge the validity of information they read logically. However, they have a narrower perspective than the level 4 thinkers. To reach level 3, you should first realize the fact there is no definite answer for everything, and then you should keep challenging the assumptions you have, especially those you’ve adhered to for a long time. With constant practice in this, you can develop your own point of view when analysing an issue.

Level 4 thinker: connecting the dots and thinking in multiple dimensions.

When you become a level 4 thinker, people will be amazed by your strong intuition when making decisions. But deep down you know that mature critical thinking ability enables you to connect the seemingly irrelevant dots, and so you can see things from a much wider perspective than others. While you’re used to thinking outside the box, even when you encounter an unfamiliar problem, you can instantly identify the root of the problem, and come up with the most effective solution.

When you start to progress through the stages of critical thinking development, you will start to learn how to connect the dots. When you connect the dots, you learn to think for yourself and form a full and complete picture. Yet, the most amazing thing you will find is that you now have the ability to possess insights that other people simply cannot.

Reference

[1] The Critical Thinking Community: Critical Thinking Development A Stage Theory
[2] The Critical Thinking Community: Critical Thinking Development A Stage Theory

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Dr. Jamie Schwandt

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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3. Still No Action

More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

4. Flicker of Hope Left

You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

5. Fading Quickly

Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

6. Vow to Yourself

Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

2. Plan

Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

3. Resistance

Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

4. Confront Those Feelings

Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

5. Put Results Before Comfort

You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

6. Repeat

Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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Final Thoughts

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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