I simplified critical thinking into a short model because I would rather we all practice it more systematically in our daily lives. I would prefer to see that critical thinking is not something we have to strive toward when it really matters, but rather, we flex that muscle so regularly, it’s second-nature.
Super complex critical thinking models do not allow for this natural application in day to day life. Must you really apply critical thinking daily, even when you don’t have major decisions to make?
If you want it to count when you eventually do have a major decision to make, then yes, you need to practice critical thinking daily.
There are side benefits to practicing daily, even with smaller judgments:
- You can explain yourself. Did you ever have to justify your judgments and decisions? Of course it happens sometimes. Most of us make judgments without exploring how our minds came to a conclusion. Going through the 3-2-1 Model can create that transparency, even to yourself.
- You find some gaps in your information assessment or analysis. This provides an opportunity to reconcile those gaps, or simply acknowledge that they exist. We can find value in appreciating the complexities of judgment.
- You can question others. This isn’t intended to be obnoxious, but having a good handle on critical thinking and applying a reliable process allows you to put the brakes on trains barreling toward the judgment track. Questioning authority is always a good thing, I say, but do use the model kindly 🙂
I’ve included the simplified 3-2-1 Model below. You can pick any judgment you must make today and apply it, for the sake of trying it on. Certainly, there are other aspects to critical thinking, but I have found these to be the most helpful in everyday situations.