On the evening of June 16, 2020, Dr. Jim White introduced his listeners to Episode 14 of his live webinar and Part 6 of his Critical Thinking series. Last week, Dr. White delivered a lecture on critical thinking, describing critical thinkers as objective, self-aware, and able to use emotions and see the big picture.
Critical Thinking, Part VI.
Last night, as Dr. White delved deeper into the Critical Thinking series, he discussed five topics that relate to critical thinking:
1. Evaluating information
2. Making assumptions
3. Watching out for bias
4. Asking clarifying questions
5. Utilizing a SWOT analysis
“Everyone put on this planet has the right to equal opportunities.”
Dr. White began his lecture on addressing one of the biggest challenges in the process of critical thinking – evaluating information. White quoted Winston Churchill, noting “the best critical thinkers are those people who are capable of gleaning information that may be unclear or conflicting.”
Dr. White transitioned to the second topic of the evening, making assumptions. “Self-awareness is a starting point from where we begin to think critically,” White told his subscribers, “we base our decisions on assumptions we make about objects or things.” Adding that assumptions are arguments, White explained further, citing the distinguishing
feature about an argument is that it is a statement where no evidence or proof is provided. Assumptions can be verbally stated or mentally unstated, but in most cases they are unstated. White noted that assumptions are often made in politics. Joking that with enough assumptions, any policy can be justified, White illuminated just how powerful and dangerous assumptions can be.
The third topic in Tuesday’s lecture was watching out for bias. White reminded his viewers that confirmation bias can influence the inferences we draw. Bias is prejudice in favor or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
Dr. White recognized the bias we currently face in the United States, indicating that bias obviously exists in the US, and we need to work together to eliminate it. “Everyone put on this planet has the right to equal opportunities,” White said, “we need our politicians to step up to the table and you and I need to do more and speak out in a non-violent way.” White also cautioned against allowing preconceived notions to influence the way we evaluate data to the degree that we use the data to confirm what we already believe.
White encouraged using objectivity to oppose bias. Dr. White also paused to address current events, asserting that we are better than what is occurring in the United States, and that we can do better. Jim took a moment to remember George Floyd, who senselessly lost his life due to bias. “We are better than that.” White affirmed.
Next, Dr. White tackled the fourth topic, asking clarifying questions, which he described as a unique skill set that will serve you in your critical thinking journey. Clarifying questions are thought provoking questions that help the thinker acquire more information.
These questions can be generic or specific, and you can expect other questions to arise out of the answers you receive.
Dr. White’s last topic of the evening addressed SWOT analysis, or a strategic planning technique that allows a critical thinker to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within a business or personal endeavor. A SWOT analysis encourages clean and clear thinking, and it allows us to become more objective thinkers.
They can be useful in businesses, marketing, crisis management, and career assessments. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, while threats and opportunities are external. Internal environment examples include prices, products, and performance. External environment examples include the audience, the economy, and even the pandemic. White noted that threats can become opportunities, just as weaknesses can become strengths.
Next week, White will continue his Critical Thinking series, drilling down on the benefits of critical thinking, how to become more persuasive, how to increase emotional intelligence, and how to become a better communicator and problem solver.
Join Dr. White’s FREE webinar today.
Dr. White is hosting his regular Webinar Series. His next webinar goes live on June 23 at 6:30 PM EST. The topic of the webinar is “Critical Thinkers, Part VII.” Dr. White’s objective is to teach you the skills to evaluate, identify, and distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information. It will lead you to be more productive in your career, and provide a great skill in your everyday life during and post COVID-19.