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Session 1: Critical Thinking Video Transcript

[Phil Bonelli] We're going to be talking about are you employable and the different skills which lead to you being a good employee. Now you may be thinking, I don't even want to be an employee. I want to work for myself or something of that nature. But no matter what you do, whether you're running a big company, you're at the bottom of the totem pole or have your own business, you are working for people because you've got to take care of customers. So are you a critical thinker? That's the first question that we're going to ask, and I have something for you to look at and talk with your classmates about. There's a rooster on top of a barn, it's a young rooster. The wind is blowing from East to West at 10 miles, mark it, 10 miles an hour and the rooster lays an egg. Which direction does the egg fall? See who could answer first? I would venture a guess that most of you are wrong, whatever you said because roosters don't lay eggs.

Now there's a couple of things that happened there that might have confused you. A: There is a bunch of different information which was not important for the answer of the question and B: I told you to hurry up, and when we rush and don't think through things, we don't generally come up with, the right answer. Has anyone ever taught you how to think? Having people that can challenge your thoughts and understanding that they're not trying to fight you or trying to go against you, but just it's, they're kind of there to play devil's advocate, and it's something that they care for you about, and they want you to to grow. Intellectually, as an individual. And not know that it's not they're not trying to fight you there, not trying to kind of get into debate. It's just it's a constructive conversation that you're trying to grow in and having people that care about you and wants you to to grow like that is very important. And you can have that from a variety of different situations. Whether it's school, friendships, family, in the workplace, having someone that you can kind of go to and have a different perspective or a different idea or cultural background is all very important because it's you sometimes get lost in your own perspective, so being able to have someone like that is is very important.

That was probably one of the questions I've thought the most about 'cause I don't really know of a time I was taught how to think. I think. In different psychology classes, we've talked about children being sponges and just kind of soaking up everything that's around them, and I'm very fortunate in the fact that that I have. I've had great familial ties with my family I've had. I had a great childhood growing up and being able to use my dad as a mentor and so my thought process has very much kind of assimilated in with his and there's been small changes here there and I've come, excuse me, I've been led by different leaders here at college and I've been able to pick up on different ways that they thought through problems and I've either made the choice of oh hey, I like that. I'm going to tuck that in the back folder of my brain or whatever. Or oh, you know I didn't like that one as much, but you end up learning from both types of leader, if that makes sense. So definitely in the military, they teach a lot about critical thinking and like how to actually do that because again, most people just make decisions they don't really think about how or why they made those certain decisions, but when you get into environment where you're dealing with other people, you have to be considerate of how you're making these decisions, so you make them in an effective way.

Critical thinking. Uh, critical thinking is one of the most important things to me for anything in life beyond employability. Because if there's one thing that life is full of for all of us, it's problems. At work there's problems, at home there's problems, getting to your office, getting to school, whatever there are problems, and you have to be able to solve them. Now I know that you have all the tools that you need. The fact that you are now a junior or senior in high school you've gotten this far. Your brain works perfectly perfectly well. You've got the ability to think critically if you just learn some tools how to do it in the side that you want to. So one thing I want you to focus on is to think outside of the box. What does that mean? Well, if you think about a box, there are things that fit in the box. That might be the way that we normally think about things. Maybe some prejudices we have, or biases we have or experiences that we have and they lead us in a certain way of thinking. There's nothing wrong with that; our experience is a useful tool. But to solve problems which may be new, you need to think in new ways. Thinking outside the box makes you happy.

The problem in the box when you're thinking about the problem in addressing it, I want you to think of a couple of things. First, do I have the information that I need to solve this problem? Is the information correct that I'm getting? Am I being misled either intentionally or unintentionally? Think through this to come up with an answer. One thing that's also great is to get advice from other people, people that you can trust to get outside diverse perspectives. To help you see things that you may not be able to see. What are the key details? Am I being misled as I mentioned? Can I think differently? Do I need to think differently in order to solve this problem? When will you ever use critical thinking? The answer is really all the time in making decisions, which there are tremendous amount of decisions, many of which we take for granted.

There's lots of decisions you have to make. You might be making some decisions right now. What do I want to do after school, after I graduate from school? What sort of job should I take? What path should I go on? Who should I ask to prom? All sorts of important things requiring critical thinking and decision making. Solving problems. As I mentioned, life is full of problems and I love to look at it as each problem is your solution waiting to happen. I'll give you 1 quick tip on this. When we have a big problem that happens to us, so much of our angst is that we're surprised and as weird as it sounds, I'm a very optimistic person. I just kind of expect things to have problems, so when they happen, I'm not surprised and I can just deal with them in a rational way. Think through what's the information I need to know. Who can I get advice from on this, so I can work on solving it and getting to the other side? Every problem is just a solution waiting to happen if you use critical thinking.

Handling disagreements, disagreements are another thing that happen all the time and if you think critically and use your brain and the brain power you have, a disagreement can be a wonderful opportunity to deepen a relationship and learn more about the other party, which might be something that would be very useful for you. Speaking your mind.You have a great mind that has gifts and talents and opinions which the world needs and you need to be able to articulate those talents and information and a useful way. Critical thinking is the tool which you use to effectively speak your mind. There's a lot of people who are speaking their mind and not getting anywhere because they're not thinking critically.

Think critically as you speak your mind, and along with that generally communicating with others, both the best blessings and the biggest curses sometimes in life are in our interactions with others and communication is the key to every relationship which will ever exist in your life. So thinking to me, I sort of picture someone just kind of like having a normal conversation. You're just saying whatever comes your head, you know, really, like thinking about what you say before you actually say it. Critical thinking to me is when you're presented with a problem, and that problem requires a good, well-thought out processed decision. But a lot of times people apply the same method of just like that they would normally would just speaking to thinking to that problem, and that's not what you can't do that, you have to look at it critically through various methods of like of critical thinking, I think there's like pros and cons list, Venn diagram you know there's so many different tools you can use to critically think to help you make those decisions.

I think the intensity would be the biggest difference between those. Thinking is just something that happens all day long. You think about nonchalantly about stuff, you think unconsciously about things, and smaller decisions that really have no weight. You still think about them, but whichever choice you make, I mean, it might be a decision for what to have for lunch. I mean, it might be a decision of, you know, whether or not to go play basketball with your friends or some sort of sports, but the critical thinking aspect is when you're buckling down for a decision that will either affect you. It will affect others. It will affect the outcome of what you're in charge of, or some sort of responsibility that you have, and so the level of thinking you have to go into a deeper level of thinking you have to get a little bit more intense with your like a mental Venn diagram of which choice you need to make or just your different decision making process.

Love this quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence, plus character. That is the goal of true education," and that's what we're looking to provide with the Ethical School of Leadership here at UNG. Let's put your critical thinking skills to the test. Teachers, you're up. Alright, I hope that that exercise helped hammer home a little about the importance of critical thinking. In conclusion, critical thinking is an essential tool in your toolbox for employability and just thriving in life. And I want you to think of two things to keep them in mind.

First, just take a moment to think critically when you have to make a decision, solve a problem, settle a disagreement, and once you begin the exercise of getting in the habit of pausing to think critically. The second thing I want you to do is to do your thinking with an action bias. What do I mean by that? What I mean by that as your thinking, be thinking in terms of what is an actionable solution to this problem or disagreement or issue which I can do? You don't want to be thinking just for the sake of thinking you want to be thinking critically so that you can come to a solution.

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