Some people tell me they don’t understand critical thinking & philosophy. Or at least they don’t know why I love it so much and spent $$$ money on a university diploma in philosophy. They’ll agree that it’s good and we should teach it to children. But then, they still can’t tell me why.
So let me tell all of you.
Critical thinking makes you aware of your thought patterns and feelings about topics in life.
Becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings is self-knowledge. Critical thinking tells you who you are right now. Even if you don’t like yourself right now, you can try to understand yourself. But why should you bother trying to understand yourself?
Because there is no use hiding from yourself.
You can try to hide from yourself by distracting yourself with hobbies, travel, drugs, alcohol, friends, reading, gambling, eating, watching television, fitness, and more travel, etc. But when the money runs out and when the fun stops… there you are. The hide-and-seek game always ends with you being found, and then you hide again.
Many of us are trying to hide from ourselves, all of the time.
We feel insignificant on this planet, not good enough, ashamed, unsure if others will like us, frustrated, trapped… (add your own) We let other people think for us when it’s too hard or when we want to do “the right thing”.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to stop hiding from yourself? It would be really nice to be able to sit with yourself and say “I LIKE YOU.” And wouldn’t it be nice to stop hiding yourself from other people, to just relax and be the human being that you were born to be? Think about it, you were not born to cry and worry; you were born for the greatness of being the unique person you are – and that is all you need to be!
Practicing awareness will help you feel better, even if you do nothing else.
Taking time to stop hiding from your thoughts and feelings is caring for yourself. Critical thinking is taking time to stop hiding from your thoughts and feelings, and really understand who you are. You might still want to change yourself – that feeling is normal.
Critical thinking is like meditation, but meditation is hard for most people to start.
Critical thinking is easy to start. Philosophy is for EVERYONE.
When you think deeply about topics in life, you will learn who you are without having to force yourself to sit, lotus cross-legged, on a mountain top for six months. You don’t have to use timers and rewards or pay for yoga classes to motivate yourself to meditate. You just need to question things (which is free!). Most of my blogs include critical thinking questions to make it easier, just in case you aren’t sure how to start!
With critical thinking you’ll begin to know who you are. And if it turns out you don’t like how you think, guess what.
You have the right to choose your own thoughts and feelings.
Maybe no one ever told you this, but you can think whatever thoughts you want and no one can stop you. Heaven is in your mind.
Re-engineer your life by rethinking.
When you know who you are, and why you think like you do, you can begin to choose. You can find underneath your opinions and thoughts to see:
- your perceptions – how things appear to you
- your values – what is most valuable to you
- what motivates you – if rewards work, then what and why
- your assumptions
- fundamental beliefs about life’s meaning to you (or lack thereof)
- your beliefs about what is good and bad morally
Finally, when you know these things, you can start to pay attention about how your belief in them makes you feel. Do your thoughts make you feel good, peaceful, motivated, or energized? Or do your beliefs make you feel heavy, tired, sad, and hopeless?
Critical thinking will let you ask yourself a next-level question: Does everyone else think these things? Or, are there other ways to think? If other people seem to feel differently, does that mean they are thinking differently?
Your thoughts create feelings inside you. You cannot force yourself to love or hate, to be sad or happy. Your thoughts change those things.
Critical thinking gives you the power to change your thoughts in order to change your feelings.
Critical thinking gives you the power and motivation to live the kind of life that you truly want to live.
Be happy – you deserve it and it’s yours.
Critical Thinking Activity:
“This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as night the day, that thou canst not then be false to any man.” – in Hamlet, Act I Scene III, by Shakespeare
- Modern paraphrase: The most important thing in life is to be true to yourself. If you are true to yourself, then it’s impossible for you to show an untruthful side to others; this is a fact as certain as the night follows the day.
- However, in olden times English, the meaning of true = beneficial.
- So, let’s re-paraphrase: The most important thing in life is to benefit yourself. When you benefit yourself, you’ll always end up benefiting others, too.
- How can you know how to “certainly” (surely, truly, definitely) benefit yourself, if you don’t know who you are?
- Can you benefit yourself (as a human being) if you don’t know what is good for a human being?