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A How-To Guide on Taking up Critical Thinking Completely

A How-To Guide on Taking up Critical Thinking Completely
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We all believe that critical thinking is important, yet not a lot of people possess critical thinking skills. Just look around and observe how most people judge instead of think. Some people make decisions without giving any valid reasons, some make judgement on things based on only what they see from the surface.

To take up critical thinking skills effectively and not to let biases and distractions blind us from thinking right, we should understand what critical thinking really means, and what it takes to become a critical thinker.

The Strategy to Master Critical Thinking

9 Powerful Ways to Train Your Mind to Think Critically

You don’t need to go through a whole course on critical thinking to know how to detect fallacies in everyday life. Here are nine practical ways to train your critical thinking.

How To Overcome Biases And Expand Your Mind

To expand your mind, re-learn how to search for and process information without biases. Here are some very good ways to get over the biases in your head.

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How Successful People Think Critically, Instead of Listening to What Others Tell Them

Some effective tools to keep your mind clear and think critically.

How to Think Clearly Without Biases

Confirmation Bias: How It Reinforces Us to Believe the Wrong Things

People with confirmation bias tend to seek information to reinforce their own beliefs. even though the beliefs maybe false. Learn more from the article.

Cognitive Biases That Largely Affect Your Everyday Decisions

There are 20 cognitive biases that can affect our decisions and hinder us from success. Learn more from the article.

Stupid Thinking Errors We All Have Made

Our minds aren’t perfect, and we all have one or some blind spots that block us from thinking objectively. Learn more from the article.

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Thinking Mistakes That Block Us From Thinking Clearly

Sometimes, our thoughts are misguided, leading us to reach the wrong conclusions and make the wrong decisions. Learn more from the article.

We Cherish Thoughts That We Think Are Right, and That’s a Problem

We tend to believe that we know a lot, but the truth says the opposite. Learn more from the article.

The Skills You Need to Think Critically

Characteristics of Critical Thinkers and How to Be One

Critical thinking involves analyzing, evaluating, interpreting, problem solving, and questioning. Learn more from the article.

What Makes Critical Thinks Become High Performers

Critical thinkers are guided through life by their own observations, knowledge, and experience, and not be led.

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How a Critical Thinker Thinks

Wise Questions Critical Thinkers Ask to Make Right Decisions

There are questions that you can ask yourself to trigger the required cognitive process that critical thinkers have.

The Quick Way to Think Critically and Make the Right Decisions

Successful people know how to make everyday decisions quickly. They also know how to pick out vital decisions that need more time and focus.

What Critical Thinking Can Do to Us

Why We All Need to Think Critically in This Noisy World

Our modern society tends to squash essential critical thinking skills with simple directions, spoon feeding problem solving skills to everyone. Learn more from the article.

Critical Thinking Is the Secret Behind Warren Buffett’s Massive Success

What makes Buffett so successful is that he isn’t willing to be a passive recipient of what he learns, instead, he evaluates all the information he has gone through and form his own insights. Learn more from the article.

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How Critical Thinking Differentiates Ordinary People With Outstanding People

We were born similar, but as we grow, we learn from what’s around us and start to think differently. Learn more from the article.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

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Anna Chui

Anna is the Chief Editor and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert who shares tips on motivation and relationships.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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