Critical thinking activities not only help us develop a sharper mind, they help us develop a consistent mindset and way of thinking.
While thinking is easy, critical thinking, on a consistent basis, takes some skill. Critical thinking activities help us develop a healthy way of reasoning, analyzing and empathizing that helps us take the right actions and perform the right deeds.
Yes, we can think about helping someone make a decision, but can we truly help them make the best one for their given situation?
Improving with critical thinking activities
And what about our own issues? Can we clearly and concisely make the best possible decision each and every day according to the experience we have? This is where critical thinking comes in.
There are actually ideas which can vastly improve our critical thinking skills and help us create a better long-term outcome. Maybe we can try these fun critical thinking activities to train our brain to be the best it can be.
1. Stay on topic
How easy is it for you to lose your concentration during a discussion? For me, it seems pretty easy, but the truth is, sometimes when you communicate, it’s easy to take, what I call, “tangents”.
For example, if I’m planning a way to complete a task, but yet I start talking about something else that needs to get done, I am going off topic. Every time I go off topic, I take the focus off the present issue.
One of the best critical thinking activities is practicing the incredibly hard objective of staying on task. Try it and see just how difficult it can sometimes be. It will be challenging to stay focused, but it will also be fun learning how to train your brain on a thinking “tightrope”.
The good news is, it does help improve the quality of your thought patterns.
2. Understand true motives
This is just smart thinking if you ask me. There are times when, during a conversation, someone will present an idea that supports their cognitive bias. It’s not easy to catch sometimes, but if you are good at critical thinking, you will notice the indicators. Pay attention to the details of the argument and understand how these details apply to the ones who are talking.
Unfortunately, some people have selfish motives and you will want to become familiar with the telltale signs. As you practice filtering out the true motives, it will become easier over time to do so. Here’s the interesting part: you will also notice biases in yourself as well. Practice seeing things from a neutral position instead.
3. Character improvements
Now, take a look at your good and bad traits. When arguments arise, how often do you admit you’re wrong? How often do you turn to introspection? It’s important to regularly do an inventory of your own character. It’s also important to gauge just how much you are willing to learn from others.
Maybe you are truly right most of the time, but is it wise to remain steadfast in your beliefs? Could it be more important to bend toward someone else’s opinion of the situation at hand? These are good questions to ask yourself as you examine who you really are.
After a rather heated argument, rehash the debate and come from your partner’s standpoint instead. Try to understand things from their point of view and decide to agree the next time to see what transpires. Maybe change is good for you.
4. One thing at a time
It also benefits you to take one problem at a time when working through various life circumstances. A good way to do this is by taking steps. First, identify the problem. Then decide whether you have a solution or not. I found out long ago that some problems require a number of steps instead of one big solution.
Sometimes these steps turn into smaller problems which must be solved before tackling the larger problem. This has to be discovered by careful analyzation of each step.
Practicing this technique of solving problems will help you stay patient in the future instead of getting irritable and overwhelmed when things take a turn for the worst.
Here’s a fun twist. Take a simple problem, for practice, and break it down into increments. Make different decisions on smaller portions of the problem to see where those decisions lead you.
5. Review your day
Wasted time is one of the biggest obstacles to productive thinking, and another culprit is procrastination, as you already know. So, first off, you must try to perform better during the day. Then, you need to practice doing a recap of what you’ve accomplished.
At the end of your workday, instead of watching television, try going back over all the things you got done. Think of your conversations, your errands, and even your thinking. Was it time well spent, or did you procrastinate and worry most of the day? Maybe you thought too long on the past.
Each evening, take time to recap your day and take note of any wasted time. This will help you improve in that area.
6. Journal your actions and reactions
At the end of each day or week, write down certain notable happenings in your day to day life. Write about the event and how it made you feel. Talk honestly about how you reacted to the situation. Do you feel good about what you said or did?
Now, analyze your response in this way. If you feel as though you could have reacted differently, then how do you plan to do that? Keep these journal entries so you can learn how to better respond to situations and eliminate instances of making rash decisions.
When debating something, it can get hard to convey a moral or standard that’s important to you. Illustrations can provide a story that helps the other person see how your argument works.
For instance, if you’re trying to help someone and they refuse to accept or understand your gesture, then talk to them about how your offer is similar to saving someone from having a physical accident (like an illustration of you pulling them out of the way or a speeding automobile.)
Maybe your gesture of help will eliminate a bad consequence by sharing an unrelated illustration or story. So, in your mind, practice placing ideas in story form for better understanding. When real problems come, you will have easy to understand illustrations in case you’re struggling with a solution.
The importance of critical thinking activities
The reason why critical thinking activities are so important is that they help us train our brain to stretch to new limits. Our simple thinking can be transformed into a well-informed intellect, paired with the ability to feel and reason productively. Critical thinking can actually improve our quality of life and the life of the ones we love.
To take advantage of the best the world has to offer, you must activate your critical thinking activities. Once you start to practice, you will be surprised by what you can already do. Let’s do this together and enjoy the process of learning.