How I Use Critical Thinking in Everyday Life: Essay

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While many may feel that CTRW is, to put it bluntly, a “fluffy” module, I feel that it is more than that and what we learn does have some relevance to real life, be it in our studies, work, or life in general.

Many people have the impression that CTRW is “fluffy” as they feel it just teaches us what we already know, especially when we were learning about argument structures and deduction forms in the first few lessons. However, I feel differently. I agree that in a sense, most of us intuitively know how to argue for our points and can state, explain, and phrase our arguments, as well as know when other people’s arguments do not make sense. However, I believe that learning the actual argument and deduction forms allows us to have a better understanding of why we phrase our arguments in the way we do and also better pinpoint the faults in both our and others’ arguments, rather than just relying on intuition which may not always be right. This is similar to how most native English speakers intuitively know how to speak with mostly accurate grammar and pronunciation even without much knowledge of the proper grammar terms or phonetics. However, those who have studied all the different grammar terms or phonetics are more likely to be able to write and talk with more accurate grammar and pronunciation respectively, rather than just relying on their intuition like most of us do. In the same way, I think CTRW taught us how to put the intuition we have into actual terms and worded explanations like argument and deduction forms, allowing us to better bring our points across in a cogent argument and also more accurately spot and counter any fallacies in arguments with others. This is relevant to us in studies, work, and life in general as we would be better able to put our thoughts into words and also have more productive communication with others.

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When it comes to studies, critical thinking skills are definitely useful, be it in understanding my course material or completing assignments. As mentioned earlier, critical thinking helps me in structuring my thought process into a proper, cogent argument. Knowing more about potential reasoning mistakes (like both formal and informal fallacies) also allows me to more accurately spot and correct flaws in my assignments and essays, ensuring that I have a more foolproof argument. This also enables me to better pinpoint any gaps in my understanding of certain topics when I revise or explain concepts to peers. In this aspect, critical thinking helps me not just with qualitative modules like CTRW itself, but also with other modules, for example, Financial Accounting. Sometimes when explaining concepts to peers who ask me questions (as I took Financial Accounting last semester), I realized that I would have explained it using circular reasoning (as I unknowingly did to my peers last semester). However, after taking CTRW, it made me realize that I was committing this fallacy, and it was because I did not know how to answer the question directly due to my concepts not being strong enough. Hence, I knew to take action to bridge the gap in my understanding and was then able to directly answer my peers’ questions, while also deepening my own understanding of the subject.

Critical thinking has also helped me in deciding my future career path. When deciding on my major declaration, I used critical thinking to help me rationalize and reason out my thought process behind my preferences for different options. At first, I was conflicted as I thought that my choices were partly influenced by my family and friends’ opinions and I was appealing to popularity. So, I used critical thinking to reason out why I wanted to declare the major I did and realized that the logic behind my choice flowed well and it is what I, myself, want to pursue. However, this example also shows that critical thinking may not always be a good thing if not managed well. Sometimes, thinking critically could cause us to overthink irrationally and introduce new doubts we otherwise would not have unless we counter them by reasoning whether these doubts are valid and relevant to the issue at hand.

Recently, I have also used critical thinking to help resolve conflict within my CCA, which I feel could also be applied to any future conflict I may have in the workplace. During conflicts, personal feelings often affect professional decisions to be made, and using critical thinking can help us to separate our emotions from the issue at hand to ensure that the issue is being dealt with objectively. In this specific conflict, thinking critically helped me see that although the opposing party’s argument seemed intuitively reasonable, it was filled with many fallacies like the ad hominem tu quoque (“you too”) fallacy and the straw man fallacy. As for the others involved in the conflict (who did not take CTRW), they were committing the ad hominem fallacy and dismissing any valid points being made as they felt that the opposing party was simply being unreasonable. To be honest, CTRW really did help me in mediating this conflict and pointing out these fallacies to both sides while explaining each side to the other party. Whether or not they were receptive to considering the other party’s point of view, however, is another story. Regardless, we did eventually put our feelings aside and used critical thinking to consider a range of possible approaches to solving this conflict. In addition, it is interesting to note that my actual real-life application of what I had learned from CTRW unintentionally introduced some humor amidst the conflict, which also helped to alleviate some tension.

In conclusion, I feel that critical thinking can help me with formulating my thoughts into words, spotting and correcting flaws in my own or other people’s arguments, making decisions, and resolving conflict, not just in studies or in work as explained earlier, but also for life in general. However, for a personal life where feelings are involved, perhaps critical thinking may not be able to help, and may even have a negative impact. When it comes to interpersonal relationships, I think critical thinking may sometimes be able to help me rationalize feelings I do not understand or am confused about. Nonetheless, I do also understand that feelings and interpersonal relationships can hardly be explained by logic, and they do not have to be, or maybe should not have to be. Hence, always using critical thinking to analyze decisions relating to interpersonal relationships or wanting to have a reasonable and logical explanation for everything in my personal life may drive people away from me instead. Therefore, CTRW may be relevant in studies, work, and some aspects of life, but when it comes to personal life where feelings (be it my own or those of others) are involved, perhaps CTRW should not be relevant.

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