Manage episode 285811349 series 1375140
Can you guess how many benefits of critical thinking you’ll enjoy along your journey of mental mastery?
The number is huge and here’s why:
The value of learning to think critically compounds over time.
In fact, the more you practice, the more positive outcomes you’ll experience.
So let’s dive into these benefits and point out some tips that you probably haven’t applied before.
The best part?
We’ll exercise our critical thinking skills as we go as I demonstrate a few ways I’ve used critical thinking myself.
Why Is Critical Thinking Important?
See what I just did there?
I asked a question to demonstrate the first major benefit.
Asking and knowing why something matters helps you:
- Place it in context
- Learn about its history
- Unpack and analyze its parts
For example, we know that human civilization only really starts going when people started to think.
And that probably only became possible because our ancestors discovered how to irrigate land for farming.
Although human history is obviously more complex than that, it’s also pretty simple: If you don’t have to spend all your time hunting and foraging for food, you can rest and think more.
The more you can rest and think, the more you can think about maximizing your free time, which is ultimately what gave rise to the Internet we’re using to communicate with each other now.
This means that more free time and better communication between people make critical thinking so important.
Because the better you get at thinking critically, the more free time and better communication you will enjoy.
11 Incredible Benefits Of Critical Thinking
The following list of the benefits you can expect from thinking more critically are in no particular order of importance.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t be ordered. You can benefit a great deal by thinking through which of these benefits you feel are the most important. Use ordering as a means of practicing your objective reasoning skills.
One: Critical Thinking Gives You Practice In Multiple Disciplines
Want to be able to think faster?
Use “mental rotation.”
When I was in university, and even to this day, I used this critical thinking skill.
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say you are given a problem to solve, such as inner city poverty.
It’s a huge benefit when you can look at the problem from several perspectives, rather than just one. For example, you can mentally rotate through:
- Political perspectives
- Psychological perspectives
- Biological perspectives
- Ethnographic perspectives
- Historical perspectives
- Economic perspectives
- Ethical perspectives
The critical thinking benefits of “rotating” through these perspectives happen because they exercise your thinking skills. As your perspective grows, you can spot more possible options for the next benefit.
Think of “mental rotation” like a moving windmill of possible mental models you can move through while enjoying the benefits of critical thinking.
Two: Avoid Unnecessary Problems
The more perspectives you have, the more models you can mentally navigate. These models (like the ones listed above) help you imagine different outcomes.
Essentially, you enable yourself to create multiple versions of the W.R.A.P. technique taught in the training on ars combinatoria, an early critical thinking tool you might want to explore. It’s just one of several critical thinking strategies you’ll want to learn.
Of course, not all problems are avoidable, and it would not be appropriate to think critical thinking will create some kind of friction free paradise.
But although some decisions will always create new issues, you can seriously reduce the negative impact of those decisions in advance simply by thinking things through with the widest variety of mental tools you can find.
Three: Brain Exercise
You get brain exercise from critical thinking for a few reasons.
When you shift through multiple perspectives, you’ll be promoting cognitive switching. Research shows that this mental movement is the healthy equivalent of walking for your heart and lungs. Only in this case, the benefits are directed at your brain.
In this case, you’ll be getting even more benefits thanks to how critical thinking gets used in conversations. For example, a fit brain is much more likely to use objective reasoning and avoid the traps of subjective reasoning.
Here are more brain exercises I think you’ll enjoy.
Four: Personal Time Expands
Now, we’ve talked about how critical thinking was used to help entire societies expand their free time. This works at the individual level too.
For example, if you run an online business and want more free time, nothing will help you faster than applying critical thinking skills to how you can release yourself from certain tasks.
If you’re a student, you can learn techniques like interleaving, just one way of several authentic ways to read faster.
But, if you don’t have critical thinking skills to help cut through the rubbish and pseudoscience out there, you could wind up losing time instead of gaining it.
Five: Communication And Your Use Of Language Improves
Conversations become so much more beneficial when you can use multiple forms of critical thinking in real time.
Like any area of skill, you will learn new vocabulary when you study critical thinking.
New words directly lead to improved language abilities.
Plus, you’ll gain a sense of which kinds of words and phrases to use in which contexts.
Linking thinking with better use of language has always been part of the memory tradition we discuss on this blog. It goes back at least as far as 90 BCE where it was codified in Rhetorica ad Herennium.
Six: Scientific Living Improves Health
When you use your mind well, you’ll be able to make much better decisions related to your health.
For one thing, instead of always taking your doctor’s word for it, you’ll learn to understand the math behind their decisions and decide just how much it applies to you.
This relates to the use of language as well. For example, how many people know that “doctor” is the Latin word for “teacher.”
Using critical thinking can help you correctly assess the roles of people in your life, such as knowing that “doctor” means “teacher.”
If you start to think about your own medical professionals in this light and treat them as the starting point for educating yourself, you’ll probably make much better health decisions.
Plus, when you know word origins like this, an important skill for critical thinkers, you’re able to think faster on your feet.
That is very beneficial for our text major set of benefits:
Seven: Catch Yourself In Conversations
How many times have you found yourself in a loop of self punishment after saying something you regretted?
According to psychoanalysts like Robert Langs and Robert Haskell, we “encode” unconscious ideas in how we speak.
Now, some critics think these thinkers were reaching after hidden meanings that aren’t there. Although it is true that some of the evidence presented by both is questionable, at least in Langs’ case, he was protecting the identities of his clients.
I feel that Langs has compelling ideas and one of the issues he faces is simply that his theory attempts to account for criticisms leveled at it. As a result, there is a history of people going on the attack rather than having a decent conversation about the topic.
And that’s said because if Langs is even remotely correct, we could all stand to reduce a lot of unnecessary problems from our lives by holding our tongues in advance, rather than feeling badly about the innuendo encoded in our speech later.
Eight: Intellectual Honesty Increases
I give the Langs example because the contemporary world is filled with bad actors willing to criticize theories or ideas they haven’t fully explored or tried.
That leads to intellectual dishonesty and it harms many people.
But if you’re willing to admit that you haven’t looked at something enough to think critically about it, you do everyone a favor. You also save yourself a huge amount of time and energy because you don’t have to backtrack, watch your back or have part of your brain monitoring the environment for threats created by a lack of integrity.
Nine: Critical Thinking Promotes Independence
People who fail to acquire the advantages of critical thinking never experience as much independence as they could.
Obviously, we always want to consult others. That need is never going to go out of fashion.
But there are many situations in life where we simply don’t have the luxury of getting a second opinion. And when that happens, we want to be able to rely upon ourselves.
The problem is… what if you can’t remember how to use the tools of critical thinking?
Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.
Once you can remember the critical thinking tools and perspectives you’d added to your mental toolkit, you can use the same Memory Palace technique to train yourself to use them almost on autopilot.
Ten: Better Career
Who enjoys the best jobs on the market?
The people who can think on their feet and consistently make great decisions.
Not only that, but they’re able to accomplish other lifestyle goals a lot faster because they have great careers.
Think about it. When you have a great job, you’ll enjoy:
- Better salary
- Gold standard health insurance
- Retirement packages
- Company perks like travel expenses and a car
- Nicer offices to work in
- Closer access to higher level colleagues
- The pleasures of contributing more, etc.
Eleven: Everyone Becomes A Better Citizen Of Planet Earth
Of course, you don’t have to be (or even want to be) a top level employee or executive manager.
Improved critical thinking benefits everyone. Think of our entire planet as “Team Together” and make sure you bring your best game.
You can enjoy the benefits of contributing to your fellow humans no matter what roles you choose in life.
Merely by learning the importance of critical thinking and applying it in daily life, you will be helping other people.
How Many More Benefits Do You Want?
As you can probably tell, there’s a fair amount of crossover between these benefits.
And that means you can expect a lot more than eleven benefits as you practice critical thinking in your daily life.
I know because I taught a fourth year Critical Thinking course for several years as a professor.
I saw many students experience all of the benefits on this page and more.
If I were to sum it up in one word, it would be that they flourished.
This means that they were more than happy. They enjoyed an abundance of positive rewards, and all because they took a bit of time to learn how to think better.
So what do you say? Are you ready to start practicing your thinking skills? Let me know in the comments section and together we can contribute so much to the world.