Advertising
Advertising

To Make Wise Decisions, Ask Yourself These Questions Every Time

To Make Wise Decisions, Ask Yourself These Questions Every Time

There is a reason why critical thinking remains one of the most coveted skills among employers, as it drives effective problem solving and enables informed decision making.

This is also a viable life-skill, as the ability to think critically ensures that we make the right choices and form relevant judgments in any given situation.

So whether you are a plumber who needs to work out the best materials to use for a particular job or a parent whose child is behaving badly and without obvious reason, critical thinking is a skill that can create positive and mutually beneficial solutions for all.

Advertising

Critical Thinking Is a Skill That New Graduates Lack

While critical thinking may be an important life skill, however, it is also one that we struggle to deploy on a regular basis. Not only is this one of the primary skills that new graduates lack [1] in the modern age, for example, but it is also hard to define and this means that many of us fail to realise that we are not thinking critically on a regular basis.

This lack of awareness makes it hard to master critical thinking, while opinion and subjective thought processes also cause issues in some circumstances. After all, critical thinking is defined as ‘the the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement’, so being unable to appraise circumstances impartially makes it impossible to practice this.

What Questions Should You Ask In Order to Think Critically?

Although it can take a while to become an effective critical thinker, there are questions that you can ask yourself to trigger the required cognitive process.

Advertising

These tend to encourage deeper thought processes that avoid simple, one-dimensional answers, utilizing Bloom’s Taxonomy to identify the type of questions [2] that prompt and shape critical thinking.

With this in mind, here is an insight into Bloom’s Taxonomy and the questions that encourage critical thinking in any given scenario.

Knowledge-Focused Questions

We start with the most basic questions, which prompt us to display previously learned material through the recall of facts, information and simple terms. These help to create context for specific circumstances, while laying out the individual elements. Some examples of this include:

Advertising

  • What is….?
  • When Did….Happen?
  • Why Did….Happen?
  • Who Did….?

Comprehension-Knowledge Questions

The next step is to demonstrate your understanding of these facts and data sets, primarily by posing questions which compare, interpret and translate information. These questions encourage deeper and more challenging thought processes, which in turn helps you to understand how specific facts relate to one another. For example:

  • What Evidence is There to….?
  • How Would You Compare (or Contrast)….?
  • Explain How….?

Application-based Questions

At this stage, content writers are probably nodding their heads in agreement, as this is a similar process that copywriters go through when cultivating relevant and engaging content angles. This includes application-based questions, which encourage us to apply our newly acquired knowledge and understanding in increasingly new and diverse ways. For example:

  • What Examples Are There of….?
  • How Would You Showcase Your Understanding of….?
  • How Would You Approach….?
  • What Would Happen if….?

Analysis-based Questions

When it comes to analysis-based questions, the goal is to break down data and compartmentalize information to explore underlying motives or causes. This also creates more open and thoughtful mind-sets, which enable you to think about things in an entirely different light. Here are some examples:

Advertising

  • How Would You Classify….?
  • What Inference Can You Make From….?
  • How Would You Categorize….?
  • Can You Identify….?

Evaluation-based Questions

Evaluation-based questions help you to quantify your findings and judgments, by forcing you to present arguments and defend preconceived opinions. This is also a crucial part of the process when appraising the validity of potential solutions, as you compare them against others to make an informed decision:

  • Evaluate the Contribution of …. to ….?
  • Which to Think is Better….?
  • What is the Value or Importance of….?

Creation and Synthesis-based Questions

To complete the process, there is a need to pose questions which compile the insight that you have garnered in unique and interesting ways. This can involve combining elements in new patterns or sequences, as you strive to create innovative but effective ways of completing tasks. For example:

  • What Would Happen if….?
  • Can You Propose an Alternative Interpretation for….?
  • Could We Try….?

This structured approach reflects the cognitive process that drives critical thinking, and it can become ingrained in your psyche over a period of time. More specifically, these questions will continue to challenge traditional thought processes and enable you to conceive new solutions to personal and professional relations.

Featured photo credit: Macdongtran / Pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] Fast Company: These Are The Biggest Skills That New Graduates Lack
[2] Open Educational Resources of UCD Teaching and Learning, University College Dublin: How to Ask Questions that Prompt Critical Thinking

More by this author

10 Reasons A Long-Distance Relationship Will Work 12 iPhone 6 Tricks You Probably Don’t Know But Should We Are Often Confused Empathy With Sympathy but What’s The Difference Actually? To Make Wise Decisions, Ask Yourself These Questions Every Time No Matter What You Say, the First Thing People Pay Attention to Is Only How You Say It

Trending in Psychology

1 Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering 2 How to Increase Your Self Awareness to Be Much More Successful 3 How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind 4 How to Handle Rejection and Overcome the Fear of Being Rejected 5 8 Powerful Reasons to Love Your Enemies

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 19, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

Advertising

Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

Advertising

No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

Advertising

This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

Advertising

You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

Read Next