Develop Your Critical Thinking With This Cheat Sheet
The next time you need to think critically about something – whether you’re contemplating a new idea, weighing the pros and cons of a potential solution, or evaluating whether you can trust a particular news source – it’s worth asking yourself a few simple questions.
- Who benefits from this?
- Who is it harming?
- What would be the counterargument?
- Where will this idea take us?
Recomendo recently shared a spreadsheet developed by Wabisabi Learning (an online learning platform) to help you ask questions that inspire critical thinking. Many of these questions are designed to help you evaluate both sides of a potential idea; If you believe that a particular solution will benefit you, your family, or your community in some way, you also need to ask yourself how the solution might cause problems in the future and be honest about your answer.
Here’s a cheat sheet if you’re interested in all the questions you might want to consider:
These critical thinking skills are especially important right now as states are starting to open up and people are starting to ask themselves if it is safe to return to work, visit a restaurant, or invite other households to form a quarantine team. For many of us, deciding what to do at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic comes down to thinking very carefully about the potential risks and benefits, so it is important to approach this analysis as critically as possible, avoiding cognitive biases. wishful thinking and emotional responses on an intuitive level that can prompt you to make decisions before your brain processes all the information available.
For example, if you were trying to decide whether to go to a restaurant, you might ask the following questions:
- How do we approach this safely?
- Who will benefit from this decision?
- Who could be harmed by this decision?
- Are there alternatives that give us similar benefits with less risk?
- Where can we get more information to help us make this decision?
As you put these critical thinking questions into practice, you may find that the process becomes simpler and more intuitive. You don’t always need to consult a cheat sheet to remember to consider both sides of an argument, or to look for alternatives that offer the same benefits, and your critical thinking skills may start to become second nature.
At this point, you may find yourself making the best choice, whether you are asking yourself how to deal with interpersonal conflict or what to eat for lunch. After all, wisdom is often as simple as thinking before acting, and learning to think critically is the first step.