What is the value of critical thinking to one's personal, academic, or professional life?

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Critical thinking, or the ability to problem solve, argue why you believe something, and communicate thoughts effectively, is a rare skill.  It is important in life personally, academically, and professionally, for many reasons.  First, the skill enables a person to think and act in a purposeful way.  Most would agree that those who make informed decisions based on both fact andbelief tend to avoid thinking and acting on incorrect beliefs or making mistakes based on misinformation.  It allows a person to answer questions, give logical reasons for specific behaviors, and persuade others into similar thoughts and actions.

Critical thinking is a necessary skill for leadership, both personally and professionally.  Leaders are expected to make informed decisions, solve problems, and guide others into doing the right thing.  All of this is impossible for people who are unable to think critically.  Critical thinkers consider many points of view, aren't afraid to ask questions, consider multiple ideas, and change the course when necessary.  Critical thinkers are not afraid to be wrong, but are often able to turn mistakes into productivity.  In any company or business, this is a valuable skill.  Even in personal pursuits, such as family life and building relationships, this is a valuable skill.

In the persuit of futhering education, the most well-read and notable scholars in the world were critical thinkers.  These are people who do not simply take a correct answer at face value, but seek to discover why things are "right" and "wrong."  Their understanding goes beyond they have simply been told.  As a result, many famous critical thinkers were able to discover deeper truths, solve scientific, medical, and other world mysteries, and provide information for others that has become necessary for our current world to function the way it does.

Critical thinking is a rare skill, but one that can certainly be developed and improved upon.  It requires thought, patience, and strength of character, which means that those who persue it, also have a leg up in competition for anything.