A few days ago, this TED Ed video on critical thinking arrived in my inbox (which was a really good thing because I was struggling with what to write about for today's blog post).


There are three areas that can impede your ability to think critically:

  1. Decision Fatigue - I wrote about this concept back in 2015. Since you make thousands of decisions each day, it is no surprise that you often find yourself tired in the mid to late afternoon. When your brain is fatigued, it impacts your ability to do your best thinking.
  2. System 1 and System 2  - More recently, I covered Daniel Kahneman's theory which addresses your tendency to make decisions based on a gut feeling or impulse (System 1 thinking). This is based on what you think you know rather than digging deeper to determine what is really true (System 2 thinking). Click on the video below for a great example of System 1 vs System 2 Thinking:
  3. Confirmation Bias - It is human nature to look for facts and information that supports your beliefs. As a result, you may be blind to evidence that supports an alternative point of view. This limits your thinking. 
A visualization of System 1 vs System 2 Thinking (Daniel Kahneman).

Critical thinking is important because it enables us to make better decisions (even when we are fatigued or tempted to rely on instinct). We all have biases which are hard to uncover unless we look carefully.


the TED Ed video suggests these 5 steps to improve your critical thinking: 

  1. Formulate your question - what are you really trying to accomplish?

  2. Gather information - when you have a clear question, it is easier to collect the right information.

  3. Apply the information - ask critical questions that reveal assumptions and irrational thinking.

  4. Consider the implications - what are the side effects or unintended consequences of your decision.

  5. Explore other points of view - better understanding the views of others enables you to make better, more informed decisions.

Are there other ways you think critically?

What other topics would you like me to learn about? I would love to hear your suggestions!

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