Critical Thinkers

Critical Thinkers Characteristics or Critical Thinking Skills

In today’s digital world, when their is flood of information, we are challenged to evaluate and make sense of what we see and read.  One of the most important life skills to meet this challenge is critical thinking skill. It is vital that people develop the ability to analyze the information they encounter online. It helps them to assess; whether they can trust the sources behind the content. Not only this, if you want to succeed in 21st Century business you need to become a critical thinker. Employers value critical thinking skills and hiring managers want to recruit critical thinkers . They feel critical thinkers are critical to their organization’s growth and success.

Critical thinking skills allows you to examine the information and classify what’s more valuable and what’s less. Let us begin with the definition of critical thinking and understand what critical thinking is all about.

What is critical thinking?

Numerous critical thinking definitions exist emphasizing reasonable, reflective, unbiased analysis and evaluation of information or evidences. Critical thinking is the ability to think in an organized and rational manner in order to understand connections between facts and ideas.

Critical thinking is not about being negative. It’s open-minded, deep and clear thinking; in which you do not take things for granted. You question, analyze and evaluate what you say, hear, read, or write. It’s about not to believe anything blindly and make judgments or decisions with structured analysis and interpretation of facts.

Critical thinking is more than just the accumulation of information, facts, knowledge and analyze them. It’s a way of approaching whatever is presently occupying your mind (thinking) so that you come to the best possible conclusion. In simple words Critical Thinking is “thinking about thinking”. You identify, analyze and then fix the flaw the way you think. You improve the quality of your thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking.

Importance of critical thinking

Critical Thinking can make a difference between success and failure in almost every area of your life.

It’s key to success in your career and professional life. Almost every employer seeks critical thinkers to enhance the problem solving and decision-making competence of their organization.

Critical thinking skills also becomes of utmost importance in today’s information age. In the era of fake news, contrasting data, and so much information to process every day, critical thinking is the only way to make sense of the world. Critical thinking is crucial skill in business, start-ups , profession and also in life as well. It is quite significant and helps us attain the realms of success and growth in all facets of life.

It is becoming increasingly valuable because it:

  • encourages curiosity,
  • enhances creativity,
  • reinforces problem-solving ability
  • fosters independence.

Critical Thinking Skills

Not only this, critical thinking promotes the development of following things:

Barriers to critical thinking

Some of the major barriers to critical thinking are as under

  • Fixed mindset is the biggest barrier to critical thinking. One must have growth mindset to be a critical thinker. Critical thinking and growth mindset go hand in hand. Fixed mindset hinders the open-mind approach required to explore, learn and accept new knowledge and skills required to solve the problems.
  • Egocentric nature and thinking patterns make the person to think about himself/ herself. This barrier leads to the inability to sympathize with others to understand their problems and results.
  • Critical thinking is a complex skill that requires practice. Don’t expect to read everything and suddenly become a critical thinker – it will take time.
  • Group Thinking is also one of the harmful barriers to critical thinking. Group Thinkers does not have their own judgement or decision in any given situation or case. They seek help of another group members to formulate their thoughts, opinions, and ideas. Without them they are not able to move forward.

Apart from the above; lack of knowledge, arrogance, being not attentive, unwillingness to listen and engage, black and white thinking, negative thinking and poor cognitive skills are few other barriers.

Critical thinkers characteristics

The ability to think critically is most valued skills to have success and growth in life.  Critical thinkers extricate themselves from the crowd because they possess few characteristics that strengthen Critical Thinking. Are you one of those distinguished and out of the box personalities? Here are the top characteristics of a critical thinker to evaluate your critical thinking skill sets.


The basic and inherent quality of a critical thinkers is their curiosity.  True Critical Thinkers are constantly hungry for new ideas, learning and insights. Being inquisitive and asking constructive questions consistently in order to learn new things is one of their defining traits. They are curious about their surroundings and of the world. Their learning graph keep climbing. Curiosity brings in the desire to know more, hear more and think more.

Critical thinkers are extremely good analyzer

Analyzing information means to break information down to its component parts and evaluate how well those parts function together and separately. Critical thinkers are extremely good analyzers. They have special ability to analyze what is going on around them from different angles. They carefully examine everything, whether it is a problem, a situation, a set of data, or a text. This imbibes thinking in a clear, reasoned, logical, and reflective manner to make decisions or solve problems.

Critical thinkers have growth mindset

As I mentioned earlier; growth mindset and critical thinking go hand in hand. People with growth mindset feel comfortable questioning information that does not make sense to them. Their learning journey is never ending. They believe in their ability to learn new skills sets and acquire knowledge required in today’s rapidly changing environment.

A growth mindset supports individuals to enhance their self-reflective capacity.  Such people reflect through evaluation. When people hold a growth mindset, they see learning new things as an exciting opportunity to grow.


Creativity is an essential characteristic of critical thinkers. They have special ability to create something new deviating from patterns. When examine and evaluate information, such people come up with a solution that no one else has thought before. All of this requires a creative eye that can take a different approach from all other approaches. Imagination and drawing connections help them to visualize something new. They think differently and make a difference.

Critical Thinkers

Critical thinkers adapt and accept

Another powerful characteristic of critical thinkers is acceptance and adaption. Creative thinkers acknowledge that their beliefs and ideas might not always be the best, and that they cannot know everything. Therefore, they are open minded, they accept and adapt other persons ideas, opinion and suggestions. Here acceptance does not mean they passively accept whatever they hear or read. They rather accept after analysis, evaluation and weighing the pros and cons.

Critical thinkers are change agents

Critical thinkers are catalyst to change management. They consistently question the current practices in all facets of their lives with a great zeal. They actively look for ways to improve upon traditional approach and practices. Critical thinkers are flexible, ready to change, find new and more effective and creative ways of solving a particular problem. They are also honest to face their personal biases. They are flexible towards change. Critical thinkers show willingness to challenge the status-quo. They refuse to adhere to traditional methods; they don’t follow it simply because that’s the way it’s always been done.

Creativity has often been the fuel behind change. As I mentioned earlier, critical thinkers are good at creativity. They act at change agents in any organization.


Critical thinker have special ability to look at things and problems in unbiased way. Bias and pre-formed opinions affects critical thinking negatively. When problems, people and situations are seen in an unbiased light, you are in position to analyze them a much better way. Your decision making skills improve and you provide a better solution to any problem that you face.

Over to you now

Over to you now. Success and growth in life does not come easy. Great ideas need to be implemented with detailed goal-setting and planning, so that the execution results in success. Critical thinking makes this possible. Please let us know in the comment section which characteristic of critical thinkers have helped you most in problem solving and decision making.

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