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Abilities that Good Critical Thinkers Possess

Lotteries and Gambling in general has a low probability of success, good critical thinkers are able to recognise this and tend to steer away. However, it is not always easy to be logical, we may sometimes overlook the low probability and believe that as long as there is a chance we may get "lucky" we should try our luck.

Such departures from logic allow us to fantasise, daydream and react emotionally which can be particularly useful in generating new ideas.

Good thinkers not only possess an arsenal of effective strategies; algorithms and heuristics, but are also able to engage in problem solving.


There are 2 components to problem solving; Identifying the problem and Selecting a strategy to tackle the problem. When looking to problem solve, it is crucial to consider a multitude of different possible explanations before making a conclusion. You want to be sure that whichever problem you have identified is indeed the correct one and not one that has been misidentified.

Take for example; your computer hangs out of the blue, do you immediately throw it away or do you look for a cause? Chances are, you are likely to scan for a potential explanation or to refresh your computer. Good problem-solvers are not quick to arrive at a conclusion but rather carefully consider each possible explanation and see which is most appropriate.

Once, you have identified the problem, the next step is to identify the best solution to combat the problem. Not every solution would work as certain problems are unique in nature and may require more creative solutions. While more specialised problems require more efficient and precise solutions that can also be known as algorithms.


These are nothing more than formulas or procedures, they are exact sciences that can not be disputed and are guaranteed to provide you with the correct answer. They are often step by step procedures that you would have encountered in math or science class. When applied correctly, you WILL achieve the correct answer.

Although useful, algorithms can't solve all our problems as some of them would not be so straightforward and thus requires us to create more creative and unorthodox solutions. Such solutions are also known as Heuristics


Now, this may sound like a complicated concept, but rest assure that heuristics are simply known as "cognitive shortcuts" to solve otherwise complex problems. However, take note that such heuristics differ to algorithms in that they do not guarantee the correct outcome

One of such heuristics would be to break down a big problem into a smaller one. This makes the problem significantly easier to understand and solve, which are also known as subgoals. Tackling the problem in a step by step manner makes everything seem much more manageable. It allows one to organise more effectively and develop a systematic plan for each step. This is a much better recipe for success as opposed to dealing with a HUGE problem at one go.


It is crucial to bear such skills in mind when encountering a problem. Most of the times, problems require a mixture of both heuristics and algorithms. In order to be a good and reliable critical thinker, you must utilise both to your advantage.

Good critical thinkers are able to effectively use both and crucially know what each situation requires. Being able to quickly identify the situation can make all the difference between effective problem solving and struggling over and over again.


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