Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Quality of Life Depends on Quality of Thoughts

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Quality of Life Depends on Quality of Thoughts

Most of us are not what we could be. We are less than we could have been seeing that we have great natural capacity and potential. But most of it is dormant; most is undeveloped. Improvement in thinking is like improvement in sports, or in playing the music instrument. It is unlikely to take place in the absence of a conscious commitment to learn. As long as we take our thinking for granted, we do not do the work required for improvement. Development in thinking requires a gradual process requiring plateaus of learning and just plain hard work. It is not possible to become an excellent thinker simply because one wills it. Changing one’s habits of thought is a long-range project, happening over years, not weeks or months. The essential traits of a critical thinker require an extended period of development. How, then, can we develop as critical thinkers? How can we help ourselves and our students to practice better thinking in everyday life?
No one always acts purely objectively and rationally. We connive for selfish interests.  We gossip, boast, exaggerate, and equivocate. It is "only human" to wish to validate our prior knowledge, to vindicate our prior decisions, or to sustain our earlier beliefs. Also a large number of people are imitators rather to be thinkers they are easily incensed, misled and rarely propelled to an accurate deduction. For this reason, critical thinking, also called critical analysis, prescribed as an intellectual tool to guide one to a deep understanding or to gain a clear picture about an issue. Critical thinking is not a matter of accumulating a lot of information. A person with a good memory and who knows a lot of facts is not necessarily a good at critical thinker. A critical thinker is able to deduce consequences from what he knows, and he knows how to make use of information to solve problems, and to seek relevant sources of information to inform himself. Critical thinking should not be confused with being argumentative or being critical of other people. Although critical thinking skills can be used in exposing fallacies and bad reasoning, it can also play an important role in cooperative reasoning and constructive tasks. Also it can help us acquire knowledge, improve our theories, and strengthen arguments. It is an essential part of creativity because we need critical thinking to evaluate and improve our creative ideas. It can be use to enhance work processes, produces new thoughts and improve social institutions.
The first important skill is rational thinking, each day one can choose a problem to work on when has free moments. It can be family problem or social problem.  Figuring out the logic of the problem by identifying its elements. In other words, systematically think through the questions – if one do not ask question, It is not possible to get the answer, like: What exactly is the problem? What are the causes? What is the root causes of the problem? What would you do if you were in the position of that organizer? Thus you can discus and communicate with yourself? Whiling remembering not to focus on the problem focus on the causes, contexts and circumstances? And always look from different dimensions?
Indeed, this strategy relies on ability to reason rather than to using emotion and imitation. It relies on evidence and following evidence wherever it leads. It also relies on being an active learner or analyser rather than a passive recipient of information. It rigorously question ideas and assumptions rather than accepting them at face value. They will always seek to determine whether the ideas, arguments and findings represent the entire picture and are open to finding that they do not.
Critical thinkers will identify, analyse and solve problems systematically rather than by intuition or instinct. Hence, it is called the art of using reason to analyze ideas and dig deeper to get to our true potential. Critical thinking isn't about thinking more or thinking harder; it's about thinking better. Honing critical thinking skills can open up a lifetime of intellectual curiosity. But the journey is not all rosy. Critical thinking requires a lot of discipline. Staying on track takes a combination of steady growth, motivation, and the ability to take an honest look at ourselves, even in the face of some uncomfortable facts.
The second thing which is worth to note is not to take information from authority until you've investigated it yourself. Taking information on authority can be useful. Instead of double-checking everything anyone says, we tend to label information as either coming from a trustworthy or not trustworthy source. This keeps us from double-checking every piece of information that comes our way, saving time and energy. But it also keeps us from getting to the bottom of things we perceive as coming from a trustworthy source, even when they don't. Just because it was published in a magazine or broadcast over TV does not mean it's necessarily true. Get in the habit of using instinct to investigate questionable pieces of information. If your gut is not satisfied with an explanation, ask to elaborate. If you do not question a fact, read about it or test it yourself. Soon enough, you will build up a pretty good sense of what deserves more research and what you have determined to be true in your own judgment.
The last step is to understand your own biases. Human judgment can be subjective, frail, and spiteful. One recent study found that parents who were given corrected information about the safety of vaccines were less likely to have their children vaccinated. Why? The hypothesis is that parents given this information accept that the information is true, but push back people it damages their self-esteem — something that is very important to most people. Understanding what your biases are and where they may affect how you deal with information.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the newly emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@ gmail.com

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