Develop Your Brain

Critical Thinking or To Reason
Critical thinking is the mental process of analyzing or evaluating information. 'To reason' is the capacity for rational thought, or to think logically. Once you have established a solid foundation or a healthy self-concept, it is important to be able to think critically, or to reason. Everyone thinks; however, much of our thinking is reactive, biased, uninformed and often prejudiced. More often than not, it is also haphazard and undisciplined. Why do we need to think critically? In order to assess our role in, and the consequences of any actions we take, we must be able to evaluate and determine what is taking place in a given situation. This requires us to organize our thinking, integrate the information at hand, distinguish between what is fact and what is opinion, and then weigh potential outcomes. By thinking critically, instead of reacting emotionally to a problem, we employ strategies which:  Help us learn from an experience  Help prevent it from occurring again  Result in a reasonable, effective solution The quality of life we experience is in direct proportion to the quality of our thinking. Critical thinking is self-disciplined, self-monitored and problem solving thinking. It promotes openmindedness, putting things in perspective, and a positive attitude. When we don't reason or think critically we subject ourselves to fleeting, erratic or unpredictable emotions. Of course, this does not mean we should deny or suppress our emotions, for indeed, they are a vital and significant element of who we are. Instead, we must learn how to make them work for us, not against us. Critical thinking helps us balance our emotions, which in turn leads to good judgment and making informed, good decisions. For the most part, critical thinking does not come naturally. It takes effort, training and practice. As A. E. Mander wrote in his book Logic For the Millions: "Thinking is skilled work. It is not true that we are naturally endowed with the ability to think clearly and logically - without learning how, or without practicing. People with untrained minds should no more expect to think clearly and logically than people who have never learned and never practiced can expect to find themselves good carpenters, golfers, bridge players, or pianists."

Tips On Improving Critical Thinking
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Play strategy games, Sudoku and solve crossword puzzles. Read more. Reading improves focus, imagination and vocabulary which results in heightened thinking skills. Engage in healthy debates in class or with your friends. Argue both sides of an argument. As Edward De Bono, the lateral thinking psychologist suggests, use the GBI technique, in which you list the good, bad and interesting points of a position. Look at a problem from as many viewpoints as possible.

How To Think Critically and Problem Solve

Written & edited by: Tanbir Rahman; Email: tanbirrahman@live.com; Mobile: 01675464743

the truth is that your feelings are products of your thoughts. Brainstorm and come up with a several possible solutions. If that's the case. This revelation can be both daunting and liberating. it's a simply a way for us to manage and balance them with our cognitive abilities. Take action. When we are aware that we can choose and direct our thinking. or are independent of your thoughts. Put down anything that comes to mind and then go over the list and narrow it down to the best possibilities. how systematically someone weighs the pros and cons of a problem and how clearly the person can define and state it. You may also reveal a bias or narrow point of view that needs to be broadened 3. however. Take time to determine what will work best for the problem at hand. you need to identify exactly what it is. Is it solvable? Is it real or perceived? Can you solve it alone or do you need help? Sometimes by looking at it from many angles you can come up with a resolution right away. Implement your solution. Quite often what works in one situation. look at it from different angles. just a misunderstanding. If not. may not work in a similar one. Email: tanbirrahman@live. learning to think critically or problem-solve takes time.2 Develop Your Brain The quote on the right by Jean De La Bruyere may seem a bit radical. and you determine that there is indeed a problem. Daunting because it makes us responsible for our attitudes and liberating because we have the power to choose our perspective. Sometimes when you think this point through. mood and thoughts. This in no way suggests that we need downplay the many feelings and emotions we as humans enjoy. is also an indication of highly developed intelligence. Mobile: 01675464743 . according to the premise of cognitive psychology. Knowing which steps to take and how to apply those helps us master the process. fine. Decide which solution fits the situation best. Having several viable options leads to obtaining the best results. what you think is what you feel. improve our decisionmaking processes and generally live more productive lives.com. Problems can be solved in many ways. According to Barry Lubetkin. The first task is to determine if a problem exists. Go over your list of possible solutions. you may come to the conclusion that there really isn't a problem. perseverance and practice. Different situations call for different solutions. While many people believe that your feelings precede. Identify the Problem.  Steps to Critical Thinking As It Relates To Problem Solving: 1. Brainstorm a list of several possible solutions. Once you've determined the problem. we realize that we have the ability to better control the circumstances of our lives. One solution usually does not fit all. explanations and findings  Are willing to reassess information  Can put aside personal prejudices and biases  Consider all reasonable possibilities  Avoid hasty judgments Like any other skill. 4. 2. analyze it by looking at it from a variety of perspectives. 5. a New York clinical psychologist. Analyze the problem. Every problem has a solution. even if it may be to accept the Written & edited by: Tanbir Rahman. We are thinking critically and in a problem solving mindset when we: Rely on reason rather than emotion  Evaluate a broad range of viewpoints and perspectives  Maintain an open mind to alternative interpretations  Accept new evidence.

is a psychological phenomenon that takes place within a group of people who try to avoid conflict and reach agreement without critically evaluating options or alternative ideas. impedes creative ideas and thwarts independent thinking. Before we realize it. a term coined by Irving Janis in 1972. Groupthink. We have little choice but to conform to a large degree to what is already in place. wear fashions that are unbecoming. Written & edited by: Tanbir Rahman. Do not let others. How to Think for Yourself Do you think for yourself? In these times of fast media and ever-growing Internet we are under so many external influences that it can be difficult to know when we are thinking for ourselves. and get caught up in a cycle of over-spending. and listening for yourself. Thinking critically not only helps us handle future challenges more skillfully. Know who you are. but being unable to think for yourself can make you miserable at best. It means choosing to not compromise the facts for the sake of consensus or fitting in. Another trap we fall into when we don't think for ourselves is groupthink. To think for yourself means that whatever opinions you hold will be well thought out and come from a position of thorough investigation and thoughtful analysis. observing. Unless you are a discerning. Mobile: 01675464743 . or a puppet of someone else's programming. Every problem we are able to resolve increases self-confidence and self-worth.Instead of approaching problems and challenges as insurmountable obstacles. Build your mental resources by reading. and move on. Email: tanbirrahman@live.it just encompasses a broader scope of choices and decision-making in your life. feel and act. what you want and what is best for you. it can be confining and controlling if we accept everything blindly and never question the status quo.3 Develop Your Brain situation. you most likely don't even know when your thinking is not your own. listen to music and follow trends that the media tells us we should in order to be cool. This is not necessarily a bad thing.com. Gather as much information about a subject as possible before forming an opinion. very aware person. As an example. Marketing companies create ads that hypnotize us into a herd mentality as we fall into debt. we are living lives designed for us by the powers that be and without our conscious participation. however. Be well-informed. It is not unlike critical thinking . we are all born into societies or cultures where the norms and customs are already established. tell you how you should look. we can view them as opportunities to hone our critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Then take time to reflect and evaluate. Does this mean all of your ideas can be original and unlike everyone else's? Not at all! Nor does it require being contrary and argumentative just to be defiant or stand out. Wanting to be part of the crowd can certainly have its drawbacks! So how can you cultivate the ability to think for yourself? Tips on how to think for yourself: Develop a strong sense of self. at worst. especially marketing companies and the media. it also broadens our life experience and helps us gain perspective. Cultivate your own tastes and enjoy your preferences. Do what is best for you. how many of us feel the need to keep up with 'the latest'? We wear clothes. over-consuming and then stressing out over it. Not that all outside influence is bad or detrimental to forming your own views. The problem with groupthink is that it hinders finding the best solutions. Admittedly.

we can arrive at a more appropriate and practical conclusion. or guilt. The word philosophy is derived from the Greek words "philo" meaning love and "sophia" meaning wisdom. our purpose. superstitions or fallacies that defy common sense ✓ You don't take time to think things through carefully and fully As you may have already concluded. or fear of failure. Contemplating what the great philosophers have found to be meaningful and worthy assists us in establishing our own views on life. upbringing or other people's opinions? Are you being fair and open-minded? Many times we make poor decisions because we begin with the wrong premise. the media. especially yourself. Determine the pros and cons. Mobile: 01675464743 . fear. If no one hears about it. and our values. Written & edited by: Tanbir Rahman. avoiding confrontation.com. you do everyone a disservice. thinking for yourself is not easy. or maybe it happens to be the right thing to do. Look for solutions and outcomes to a situation from as many perspectives as you can. Have the courage to stand up for what you really believe and have deduced yourself. Are you being unduly influenced by your culture. Are there other possibilities? Whom might it harm/benefit? What are the potential consequences? Identify possible biases. however the personal rewards are endlessly gratifying. Do not buckle under pressure. It requires deliberate. Therefore it is the love of wisdom and the seeking of knowledge in understanding the nature of the universe. Philosophy and Personal Development Those who have not taken the time to explore the wonderful world of philosophy may consider it as having very little practical value or benefit in the real world. and the human condition. You may have a brilliant idea. What could be more relevant? How does philosophy contribute to personal development? Studying philosophy and the works of some of the greatest thinkers in the history of the world is invaluable in helping us determine who we are and what we are doing here. The benefits of thinking for yourself:        You develop self-confidence and trust in your abilities You attain a greater sense of accomplishment You expand your mind and boost your brain power You gain respect from others by standing up for what you believe in and by being original You are more aware and alert to what the media is trying to sell you You are more open to self-improvement and alternative viewpoints You are more interesting to others by expanding their thinking and options You are NOT thinking for yourself when: ✓ You let others.even if it no longer works ✓ You follow old wives' tales.4 Develop Your Brain Be flexible. Nothing could be further from the truth. or convention sway you from doing what's right for you ✓ You buy into negative. Email: tanbirrahman@live. man. If we take time to evaluate and judge based upon what we observe first hand rather than what we've been lead to believe. race or culture ✓ You do something because it has always been done that way . If you go along with the crowd for the sake of keeping peace. A good idea has the potential to evolve into a better one with input from a variety of sources. one-dimensional stereotypes based on sex. mindful and at times courageous application. a healthy discussion cannot take place and all possibilities will not be considered.

With the arrival of 'the linguistic turn' the emphasis was on the meanings of concepts rather than the impact that concepts have had upon the world. take French philosophy on a new course in the latter part of the 20th century. Foucault's works. one that teaches us to analyze. assess and reason. France. In 1945 Foucault moved to Paris just after the end of the war to take the entrance examinations for the prestigious institution of humanities the École Normale Supérieure d'Ulm. Enjoy the information and allow it to expand your thinking and viewpoint. He intended to show that human beings are constituted as knowing. but he also obtained qualifications in psychology. He then entered in 1946 whereupon he was taught by Jean Hyppolite (the French Hegelian). while his mother Anne. To show how power and knowledge interact to produce the human subject. Foucault was most concerned with the historical retrospective or 'archeology' aspect of this point. Anyone pursuing a career in law is required to take courses in philosophy for the purposes of cultivating logical and methodical thinking. for practical purposes was not able to. not other people's". If it were not for philosophy and logic. Email: tanbirrahman@live. The theme that underlies all of his work is the relationship between power and knowledge. Maurice Merleau-Ponty and mentored by Louis Althusser. More than just a pursuit of knowledge. the daughter of a surgeon longed to pursue a medical career. or the self. Foucault. Foucault's studies were primarily in philosophy. in turn. During his years at the École Normale. knowledge about ourselves and the world we live in would be very limited. however. Discipline and Punish: the birth of the prison and The History of Sexuality. rebelled and went so far as to drop the 'Paul' from his name to merely Michel. Philosopher's Corner Each month this section will feature a philosopher from a different period in history and his contributions to Western thought. Michel Foucault is considered the founder of a new French tradition in philosophy known as 'postmodernism'. This Month's Philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) Paul-Michel Foucault was a philosopher and social theorist born on October 15.com. philosophy is also an activity. While Foucault excelled at philosophy and intended to pursue an academic career. psychology and sociology. his father insisted that he follow the medical profession like the rest of his family. which puts the emphasis in philosophy on the subject of experience as positioned in an external world. Foucault struggled with depression and an attempted suicide due to difficulty in coming to terms with his homosexuality. history. His most important works in this regard include: Madness and Civilization. however. he drew upon the disciplines of philosophy. It is an instrument for acquiring and honing critical thinking and problem solving skills. knowable Written & edited by: Tanbir Rahman. 1926 in Poitiers. His father Paul-André Foucault was a prominent surgeon. Mobile: 01675464743 .5 Develop Your Brain William Ralph Inge said: "The object of studying philosophy is to know one's own mind.

he points out how the eighteenth century 'madness' was used to categorize and stigmatize not only the mentally ill but the poor. As exemplified in Madness and Civilization. the homeless and anyone whose expressions of individuality were unacceptable. the permitted and the forbidden. what authorities claim as 'scientific knowledge' is just the means for social control. they do not evolve along a 'path of progress' or represent an ongoing development. According to Foucault. labeled and cured. it would be more difficult to strive for a goal. These modes are: dividing practices.Cultivate desire. These categories provide humans identities by which they recognize themselves and allow other to recognize them. Here are some of the elements of a productive mindset:  Curiosity . It is making the most and best of what you have while enjoying the process. such as 'reason'.The willingness to seek. Inertia is the opposite of desire and a destroyer of progress. Foucault's thought and work endeavored to show us how we must strive to build social structures that lessen the tendency for domination and to re-examine what we think we know about the effect that knowledge has on our lives. however. Foucault lived his life as if driven by the desire to transcend both physical and cultural limitations. or even doing it in the quickest way possible. Vision . your energy and your efforts. and find answers for new and better ways of doing something.your time. there are certain qualities or characteristics that assist us in accomplishing that end. For this he needed to rethink the concept of power and analyze the connection between power and knowledge. Foucault claimed that modern western societies are characterized by three modes of objectification which constitute human beings as subjects. Without that picture in your mind. instead they change in response to the desire of authority to control and regulate the behavior of the individual. He also showed how the emergence of the human sciences in the late 19th century led to the human body being treated as an 'object' to be analyzed.  Written & edited by: Tanbir Rahman.  Desire or Motivation . For Foucault objectifying the human subject corresponds to historical changes in the nature of power and to developments in human and scientific knowledge. In order to make the most of who we are and what we have. His intent. was to highlight how what we consider to be knowledge and the concepts through which we understand ourselves.com. The Elements of A Productive Mindset What is a productive mindset? A productive mindset is one that makes the best use of your resources . It is not trying to do everything and be everything. This is still characteristic in modern medicine today and in this regard power is used to define knowledge. 'normality' and 'sexuality' are conditional. As an example. Without desire or motivation there is nothing to drive us to progress and improve. In other words.6 Develop Your Brain and self-knowing subjects in relations of power and discourse. Email: tanbirrahman@live. We've all read how men of 'great vision' have been able to accomplish the seemingly impossible. Mobile: 01675464743 . the sick. Foucault analyzed the means by which madness was established as a category of human behavior and one which legitimized the detention of individuals in institutions. variable and ahistorical. question.To be able to visualize what you want helps you focus on it and gives you an idea of what the outcome would look like. scientific classification and subjectification. sane and insane. Dividing practices objectify people by differentiating and separating them from their fellow human beings by categorizing them as normal and abnormal.

Positive attitude or outlook . Persistence . while a negative one defeats you before you can even start. Look at the pros and cons and be willing to make the appropriate adjustments. Possessing a positive attitude allows for any possibility.Acquire the ability to assess a situation in an objective manner or to see it how it really is. or pushing too hard on any one thing.The faith and belief that you are fully capable and can do what you set out to. Mobile: 01675464743 . thwart your determination to succeed.     Balance . we set ourselves up for reaching our goals more effectively. we must maintain balance.Your attitude. Challenge yourself and persist in order to reach your goals.Ultimately. Email: tanbirrahman@live.7  Develop Your Brain Critical Thinking . the opinions of others. we not only cultivate a productive mindset. you.There is nothing like an open-mind for generating new and innovative ideas.  Written & edited by: Tanbir Rahman. Doing too much. can lead to burnout and frustration. or break. Be willing to overcome obstacles and adversity. Without self-confidence and faith you cannot reach your full potential. to function well and get the most from life. Self-confidence . can make. or setbacks. be it positive or negative. You become receptive to groundbreaking experiences when you are flexible and open-minded.com. Working towards goals is important. Open-mindedness . By integrating the above elements into our though processes. Do not let circumstances.Most things do not come easily. but we must also take time to rejuvenate and recharge. develop positive habits and we sharpen our minds to function at high levels.