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10 Signs You’re A Critical Thinker

10 Signs You’re A Critical Thinker

Critical thinkers are able to analyze issues from a wide variety of angles, resulting in more success in business and life. Discover your ability to think critically today with these ten signs you’re a critical thinker.

1. You get your news from a wide variety of sources.

Critical thinkers know that partisan politics come into play at any mainstream media outlet, so they strive to learn about the world from a variety of sources that offer different journalistic voices. They check out places like the Wall Street Journal for a conservative perspective, Salon for a liberal slant, First Look Media for a more aggressive approach to investigative journalism, and they might even follow the politics thread on Reddit for a smorgasbord that offers every taste imaginable.

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2. You can have rational conversations with people you disagree with.

Critical thinkers are not afraid of a healthy debate. They believe that any opinion worth having should hold up to scrutiny, so they welcome conversations with people on the opposite side of the spectrum. While it is unlikely they will change their mind as a result of these discussions, they come away grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the thought process of their fellow man.

3. You are willing to change your mind when/if you discover you were wrong.

Critical thinkers know that it is impossible to be right about everything all the time. They’re open to the possibility that no, they don’t have it all figured it out; and when that happens, they are willing to admit it.

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4. You get irritated with people who resort to personal insults on comment threads.

Critical thinkers are often frustrated at the total lack of rationality that surrounds them on the Internet. While they aim to keep any conversation centered on the issue at hand, others inevitably resort to ad hominem attacks and personal attacks, an insulting tactic that makes a critical thinker want to slam the laptop shut and walk away.

5. You evolve as a person every single day.

Critical thinkers wake up every day, excited to have another opportunity to sharpen their thinking ability. They case aside the shackles of their ego, and wear an outfit of modesty, because they know they still have a lot to learn.

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6. You are fascinated by how things work.

Critical thinkers have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Their friends might accuse them of being bookworms, news junkies, or academic addicts; but they’re okay with that, because they wouldn’t trade their childlike curiosity for anything in the world.

7. You have creative, innovative, original ideas.

Critical thinkers would rather innovate than regurgitate. They make a point to learn from the successes of others, but they execute original ideas that are anything but “predictable” or “conventional.”

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While being a critical thinker is typically a plus, there can always be too much of a good thing. These final three signs you’re a critical thinker are some common pitfalls you should look out for.

8. You over-analyze issues that only require a simple solution.

Critical thinkers are sometimes guilty of turning a small problem into a bigger one. Their brain processes on a high level, searching for complex solutions to life’s complicated problems. The best solutions, however, are often the simple ones.

9. You expect too much of yourself.

Critical thinkers are typically confident (and rightfully so), but sometimes they forget that they are human just like everyone else (and just in case you weren’t aware, being human means we are all inherently flawed). We all have those moments when we lose our senses or make a bad decision; being a critical thinker does not exempt you from this reality, but it does often amplify the stress that follows. Critical thinkers should cultivate an attitude of patience and let go of their need for perfection.

10. You do too much thinking, and not enough doing.

Critical thinkers would be wise to develop the action habit in order to counterbalance their tendency to over-think. No matter how powerful your brain might be, it won’t do you any good if you’re not actively pursuing your ambitions.

Did you see yourself in these signs you’re a critical thinker? Tell us in the comments.

If this article made you think, please share with your friends so they can join the conversation.

Featured photo credit: Rest in Peace/Randy Robertson via Flickr

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Published on May 20, 2019

How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

Time.

When you think of this construct, where do you see your time being spent?

As William Shakespeare famously wrote “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me…”

Have you used your time wisely? Are you where you want to be?

Or do you have unfinished goals to attain… places you want to be, things you still need to do?

The hard truth is, that time once passed cannot be replaced–which is why it is common to hear people say that one should not squander time doing nothing, or delay certain decisions for later. More often than not, the biggest blocker from reaching our goals is often inaction – which is essentially doing nothing, rather than doing something. 

There are many reasons why we may not do something. Most often it boils down to adequate time. We may feel we don’t have enough time, or that it’s never quite the right time to pursue our goals.

Maybe next month, or maybe next year…

And, before you know it, the time has passed and you’re still no where near achieving those goals you dream about. This inaction often leads to strong regret once we look at the situation through hindsight. So, take some time now to reflect on any goal(s) you may have in mind, or hidden at the back of your mind; and, think about how you can truly start working on them now, and not later.

So, how do you start?

Figure Out Your Purpose (Your Main Goal)


The first important step is to figure out your purpose, or your main goal.

What is it that you’re after in life? And, are there any barriers preventing you from reaching your goal? These are good questions to ask when it comes to figuring out how (and for what purpose) you are spending your time.

Your purpose will guide you, and it will ensure your time spent is within the bounds of what you actually want to accomplish.

A good amount of research has been done on how we as humans develop and embrace long-term and highly meaningful goals in our lives. So much so, that having a purpose has connections to reduced stroke, and heart attack. It turns out, our desire to accomplish goals actually has an evolutionary connection–especially goals with a greater purpose to them. This is because a greater purpose often helps both the individual, and our species as a whole, survive.

Knowing why it is you’re doing something is important; and, when you do, it will be easier to budget your time and effort into pursuing after those milestones or tasks that will lead to the accomplishment of your main goal.

Assess Your Current Time Spent

Next comes the actual time usage. Once you know what your main goal is, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have now. It’s good to know how you’re currently spending your time, so that you can start making improvements and easily assess what can stay and what can go in your day to day routine.

For just one day, ideally on a day when you’d like to be more productive, I encourage you to record a time journal, down to the quarter hour if you can manage. You may be quite surprised at how little things—such as checking social media, answering emails that could wait, or idling at the water cooler or office pantry —can add up to a lot of wasted time.

To get you started, I recommend you check out this quick self assessment to assess your current productivity: Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?

Tricks to Tackle Distractions

Once you’ve assessed how you’re currently spending your time, I hope you won’t be in for too big of a shock when you see just how big of an impact distractions and time wasters are in your life.

Every time your mind wanders from your work, it takes an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get into focus again. That’s almost half an hour of precious time every time you entertain a distraction!

Which is why it’s important to learn how to focus, and tackle distractions effectively. Here’s how to do it:

1. Set Time Aside for Focusing

One way to stay focused is to set focused sessions for yourself. During a focused session, you should let people know that you won’t be responding unless it’s a real emergency.

Set your messaging apps and shared calendars as “busy” to reduce interruptions. Think of these sessions as one on one time with yourself so that you can truly focus on what’s important, without external distractions coming your way.

2. Beware of Emails

Emails may sound harmless, but they can come into our inbox continuously throughout the day, and it’s tempting to respond to them as we receive them. Especially if you’re one to check your notifications frequently.

Instead of checking them every time a new notification sounds, set a specific time to deal with your emails at one go. This will no doubt increase your productivity as you’re dealing with emails one after the other, rather than interrupting your focus on another project each time an email comes in.

Besides switching off your email notifications so as not to get distracted, you could also install a Chrome extension called Block Site that helps to stop Gmail notifications coming through at specific times, making it easier for you to manage these subtle daily distractions.

3. Let Technology Help

As much as we are getting increasingly distracted because of technology, we can’t deny it’s many advantages. So instead of feeling controlled by technology, why not make use of disabling options that the devices offer?

Turn off email alerts, app notifications, or set your phone to go straight to voicemail and even create auto-responses to incoming text messages. There are also apps like Forrest that help to increase your productivity by rewarding you each time you focus well, which encourages you to ignore your phone.

4. Schedule Time to Get Distracted

Just as important as scheduling focus time, is scheduling break times. Balance is always key, so when you start scheduling focused sessions, you should also intentionally pen down some break time slots for your mind to relax.

This is because the brain isn’t created to sustain long periods of focus and concentration. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this time, your likelihood of distractions get stronger and you’ll become less motivated.

So while taking a mental break might seem unproductive, in the long run it makes your brain work more efficiently, and you’ll end up getting more work done overall.

Time is in Your Hands

At the end of the day, we all have a certain amount of time to go all out to pursue our heart’s desires. Whatever your goals are, the time you have now, is in your hands to make them come true.

You simply need to start somewhere, instead of allowing inaction waste your time away, leaving you with regret later on. With a main goal or purpose in mind, you can be on the right track to attaining your desired outcomes.

Being aware of how you spend your time and learning how to tackle common distractions can help boost you forward in completing what’s necessary to reach your most desired goals.

So what are you waiting for? 

Featured photo credit: Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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