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The ABCs of Critical Thinking

Life is a montage of decisions; each one is arguably vital to our lives. The circumstances we find ourselves in today are ripples from past choices. So I figured that a little mini-series on critical thinking was necessary to facilitate the mental environment for good decision making.

Psychological theory suggests that there are 3 components of critical thinking. They include:


Behavioral and


Starting with our emotional foundation, the affective aspect focuses on the basis, which forms our emotional reactions. These reactions can either inhibit or promote critical thinking. This piece of the theory asks that we value the truth above our own self-interest. We cannot pretend that we are right all the time. In reality things are eventually disproved with more research, its part of being apart of an ever-evolving world. Another component of critical thinking is the ability to embrace or believe something we don’t want to accept as truth, this requires a high level of maturity and once developed can increase your mental effectiveness in all areas. Along the same line as the previous component, some truths make us uneasy, we need to accept the facts as they are and detach them from our emotions. This sounds maybe like a step in the wrong direction but most of our best decisions are conceived when we are most emotionally clear.

Quick pieces of the emotional puzzle, these phrases complete the sentence “A critical thinker,”

  • Accepts change
  • Empathizes
  • Welcomes divergent views
  • Tolerates ambiguity
  • Recognizes personal biases

Measure yourself against the affective piece of the critical thinking 3-component theory. When the next decision comes along remember the parts of this component and attempt to adjust your judgments and subsequent choice by using this critical thinking mindset.

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