According to ADEA (2014), critical thinking is defined as intellectually engaged, responsible, as well as skilful thinking that enhances good judgment. Critical thinking implies application of competence, assumptions, knowledge, as well as the ability to challenge an one’s own thinking.
In order to think critically, one has to develop cognitive and affective skills. I am aware of the fact that the factors interfering with my cognitive or affective skills hinder my ability to think critically. I have identified three main issues that have for a long time formed barriers to my critical thinking. They include fear of failure, tendency to embrace old pattern of thoughts and behaviors, and poor critical evaluation. These barriers often hinder me from achieving a reasonable basis of belief.
Some of the barriers that hinder my critical thinking arise from human limitations while others are designed and deliberate. Fear is often triggered by my desire to be liked and approved of by the people I interact with, and even those I do not know or care about. Poor critical evaluation arises from misunderstanding of the meaning of criticism. On the other hand, laziness and personal beliefs have formed my tendency to adhere to routine thoughts and behaviors.
Fear of failure is among the major barriers to my thinking critically. I am often afraid of making any mistake or being wrong. Actually, I have realized that fear undermines my thinking and drives me to the lowest level of thoughts. In addition, it makes me a little bit petty and defensive. This makes it challenging for me to pursue a given line of questioning or confront evidence and facts. Fear has made me rely on authority including my parents, lecturers, clergymen, and celebrities. I perceive the views these group of people hold as factual and true. To a larger extent, the combination of fear and over-reliance on authority makes me think less on my own.
I also have a tendency or a habit to embrace the same patterns of behavior and thoughts. The old patterns tend to dominate my thinking; consequently, I find it challenging to target these negative habits and replace them with positive attributes. In most cases, my activities are defined by ordinary routine. The things I intend to do as well as the changes I prefer to initiate are normally masked by ordinary routine of things. I agree with Paul (2007) who notes that an ordinary routine gives rise to bureaucracy. He observes that the bureaucracy has created all kinds of monitoring, controlling, ordering, testing, and defining the behavior and thoughts of people. Adherence to routine has made me cling to my old beliefs even when new facts as well as evidences emerge that make these old beliefs questionable.
Poor critical evaluation is another barrier to my ability to think critically. For a long time, I have perceived criticism as making negative comments. Given the negative perception, I have always felt that it is unethical to engage in the same. I often think that I will be regarded as an unpleasant person if I ever comment negatively. Consequently, I am accustomed to offering complements rather than giving negative comments. Thus, I always feel uneasy receiving negative comments from my friends about what I do.
The aforementioned barriers hinder my ability to think clearly, fairly, and accurately. Thus, I need to overcome or alter these barriers in order to become a better critical thinker. Although I have been trying to play safe by avoiding anything related to a failure, it has not improved my life. Rather, it has made me do things far below my potential. I have failed in many occasions, but this has never caused me permanent damage. Therefore, the fear of failure should not hold me back from thinking critically. Furthermore, I have realized that the anticipation of failure has been the primary reason behind my failure. The same is true about my ineffectiveness in problem solving.
In order to improve my critical thinking, it is important for me to realize that criticism is not solely about making negative comments. Rather, critical evaluation entails identifying both positive and negative aspects. I concur with Cottrell (2005) who notes that critical evaluation is defined by active as well as thoughtful evaluation of what one hears, read, and sees so as to determine whether the information is accurate and reliable. With this understanding, I intend to engage in constructive criticism in order to improvr my critical thinking. In addition, I will gladly receive constructive criticism from people I interact with to enhance my performance in all aspects of life.
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I perceive that my adherence to routine results from laziness as well us my unwillingness to take effort and patience in order to explore, analyze, and consider various points of view. Realizing the fact that something has been my culture or the norm in my surrounding is important to disengage from routine thoughts and behaviors. Above all, I need to practice in order to develop my skills in critical thinking. This would entail looking into all parts of my life and having the drive to ask questions and seek answers that have some meaning in various aspects of life
Conclusion. Critical thinking is important in our daily life. Unfortunately, many people are not critical thinkers. I have decided to take active steps towards ensuring that I become an effective critical thinker. Essentially, it is possible to overcome barriers to critical thinking by having vivid understanding of the same barriers. In order to achieve this aim, a critical thinker must be able to acquire intellectual perseverance and make sacrifices in various aspects of life.
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