I hope that when I write about critical thinking skills that people don’t confuse thinking critically with being a critical person. I believe that a smart, honest, friendly person can have excellent critical thinking skills as I also believe that a critical person may not have an ounce of common sense.
You see, I recently experienced my household appliance breaking down (the washing machine). After calling a “certified” technician out to inspect the problem, it was stated that the repair would cost around $400 (that was after a $100 discount)! The process of requesting a diagnostic consult, waiting for parts to arrive, and then installing said equipment took the better part of three weeks. Once the parts were installed, it came to my attention that the issue was still not corrected. 🙁
With previous appliance repairs, I typically have done my own research on how to fix the problem. This time, however, I didn’t feel like researching a leaking washing machine. I was either too lazy or not interested. I used zero brain power whatsoever. I didn’t stop and analyze what the root problem was.
You see, the problem was not that I called someone with more knowledge out to determine the issue (it’s important to learn from smarter and wiser people, that’s how we grow), it was that I never took a moment to think critically about the issue. I never jumped into the mess and took a look for myself to see if I could figure out what was going on. I decided that I couldn’t do it. Therefore, I didn’t. Sound familiar?
I don’t mean to get philosophical at this point but (ah yes, those three little letters when joined together which mean “Disregard everything before this point”) I believe this mentality of getting into the mess is a perfect example of life. So often I find myself in a situation where I attempt to address an issue as if I were an audience member watching a play instead of being the main character in the play called “My Life”.
Critical thinking skills can and should be applied to all areas of one’s life whether personal or professional.
What I am not saying is that you should never call a repair person again or that if you have someone else fix your problem you are not using your critical thinking skills. On the contrary, at some point your critical thinking skills will determine that the “professional” should be contacted.
What I am saying is that I believe that everyone has the ability and potential to analyze a situation (relationships, appliance breakdowns, complex business issues) and come up with possible solves with the right amount of research and questions. The solve usually requires bringing others into your play called “My Life” and showing off your mess.
Pro Tip: When bringing others into the issue lower your defenses and allow others to use wise judgement to comment on your situation. This is often the fastest way for a solve.
Well, I was fed up. After a few short YouTube videos and some internet searches I discovered what the issue was and replaced the two faulty pieces for a total of $40 🙂
I decided this would be a learning opportunity for me. In fact, a fail of $400 divided by a fix of $40 is ten times the “sticking” power that can be applied to future issues when I need motivation to “jump into the mess”.
The Pictures (because we all love ’em)
I took my machine washer a part. Thanks internet.
The leaky $5 faucet shower head and $35 water sensor (hidden, on top of the shower head).
A modern day map (hidden inside the front console).