Making an immediate effort to understand the opposing point of view can help keep you from becoming defensive and escalating the disagreement.
The compassionate approach won’t necessarily lead to complete harmony, but an open mind allows you to examine all the information and, hopefully, find common ground.
Indulge your curiosity and ask some open-ended questions to get more details, and further explore the issue.
In the age of social media discourse, which can escalate rapidly from name-calling to harassment to even death threats, a peaceful approach can be daunting.
Gathering data is only the first step in the process of becoming a critical thinker.
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Achieving a goal or resolving an argument requires analysing all that information. Another important step in improving your critical thinking skills is to accept that you don’t know everything. Can you verify the same information from multiple sites or authorities?In the same way a coach looks at a recording of a game to identify his team’s strengths and weaknesses, use this exercise to identify your successful actions that day, as well as the scenarios that didn’t turn out as well as you hoped. Did you do something contrary to your own belief system?Ask yourself a series of questions about those actions. Take the extra time to really think about your answers.Many articles have been written about common misconceptions about a whole range of subjects, so you should always take the time to verify any ‘facts’ you base your decisions or arguments on. Critical thinkers also consider an author’s agenda, anything from a political affiliation to a product to sell.The trick of researching is to find reliable information. Think about the last time you conversed with someone who asked you a lot of detailed questions and made you uncomfortable.Being a more critical thinker requires us to contemplate the possibility that we may be wrong or are acting in our own self-interest rather than the good of others or of the company we work for.Two prominent authors and instructors in the field of critical thinking development, Richard Paul and Linda Elder, say that feelings of irritation and resentment during the workday can actually be signs of egocentric thinking.It’s the ability to look at issues objectively and effectively, without letting bias or emotions cloud your judgement.It’s not an easy task, but critical thinking improves your communication with others, helps you solve problems in the best interests of everyone involved, and allows you to see a clearer path to success and advancement in your career.Taking arguments personally and feeling attacked by someone else’s opinion can cloud your judgement.Try to view their statements as an attempt to solve a problem or improve conditions, and not a strike against your self-worth.