Although it is a fact we may not like to admit, egocentric or sociocentric thinking is a common for many individuals. We tend to be biased based on our experiences, knowledge, and education. Our worldview can be very limited, as we don’t often look at the world through a more objective lens. It takes purposeful action, on our part, to appreciate and consider points of views other than our own.itisexam.com
In Paul and Elder’s book, Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, critical thinking is defined as “the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it.”
Have you ever met someone who seems so smart and articulate, yet at the same time has a humble and fair spirit? They are the one who always seems to have the right and appropriate thing to say. They have the ability to truly listen, and when they speak it is with much wisdom. Elements of Christ’s nature are evidenced. Paul and Elder provide a list of traits that are typically exhibited by one with higher-levels of thinking: humility, courage, empathy, autonomy, integrity, perseverance, confidence, and fair-mindedness. Reading the list of traits, I was immediately reminded of the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” (Galatians 5:22, ESV) This led me to consider how my thinking habits help me to better reflect Christ, and areas where my thought practices need to be improved.
I’ve often chastised myself when I speak without thinking, or when I am lazy in my learning endeavors. It can take a lot of energy or attention to engage with people and information in manner that contributes to one’s own learning. In haste, I’ve made false assumptions or spoken out of turn. Scripture reminds us to make our ear attentive to wisdom, incline our heart to understanding, seek insight like silver, and to look for hidden treasures. Through this, we will understand righteousness and justice, and will gain knowledge and discretion (Proverbs 2).
It can be a bit overwhelming when you look at all of the elements that go into the critical thinking process. Elder and Paul provide practical techniques to help one focus on becoming an accomplished thinker. However, our development in this area requires much more than implementation of a process. It requires experience. When we move out of our comfort zone and engage life through new experiences, our worldview is expanded. Before we can even hope to gain significant value from a book like Paul and Elder’s, we must be willing to hear and respect views that are different than our own. By removing our personal barriers and admitting our preconceived notions and prejudices, we will position ourselves to grow. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to struggle with difficult ideas or concepts. In the same way that healthy conflict drives innovation on a team, wrestling with difficult topics breeds increased knowledge.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the privilege to engage with some amazing people while on a trip to Cape Town, South Africa. Not only was I exposed to a new culture, but my ideas and beliefs were also challenged. I was able to rub shoulders with leaders who challenged me to look beyond my own world. They encouraged me to see, listen, dialog and experience.
Romans 12:2 (ESV) says, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” I encourage you to get to know people that are different than you, and genuinely listen to them. Question concepts and ideas. Evaluate your beliefs and refuse to “go along with the crowd”. Lastly, know what you believe, and why. Ask Christ to guide you on a journey of revelation.
 Paul, Dr. Richard ; Elder, Dr. Linda (1999-01-05). Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools (Kindle Locations 41-42). Foundation for Critical Thinking. Kindle Edition.
 Paul, Dr. Richard ; Elder, Dr. Linda (1999-01-05). Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools (Kindle Location 179). Foundation for Critical Thinking. Kindle Edition.