Your Critical Thinking Saves Lives: Exercise for Strong Reasoning & Mindset

Being responsible for the health and safety of others and being called on to make optimal decisions when lives hang in the balance: these are constant demands for working health care providers, safety officers, and military professionals who serve and protect. Reflecting on these insights will help you maintain your critical thinking skills and mindset strength, improve your competence, and help you connect well with other strong thinkers.

Four First Responders loading stretcher onto helicopterInsight: I will always need strong reasoning skills and a strong thinking mindset.

  • I know my workplace will always present me with new challenges and I must respond with systematic, comprehensive, and time sensitive judgements. I must be honest when I reflect on and evaluate my effectiveness so that I can continue to make a difference for the people whose lives depend on my decisions. Goal: By consistently reflecting on previous decision processes, I will exercise my reasoning skills and mindset, and know that my decisions will be good ones.
  • Nothing can replace my need to get the problem right, determine an optimal intervention and evaluate the outcomes. I must take the time available to clarify the problem and value of potential solutions to maintain safety and excellence in my judgments. Goal: Use my training and automated decision aids to broaden my consideration of options and help me determine the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Insight: Thinking about my thinking is how I become a better thinker.

  • Reflecting on past decisions to accurately understand why things went well or why they did not (metacognitive reflection) is a process worthy of my time. This is how I will recognize impending events (pattern recognition), perceive potential threats and risks, and identify mental errors so I do not continually repeat them. Goal: Develop my metacognition by building self-awareness and practicing self-evaluation.

Insight: My willingness to evaluate and reformulate judgments should be a habit of mind.

  • Always making only incremental changes in an action plan (a common human reasoning error) may lead to negligence and even disaster. I will need the willingness to reconsider new case-related information. Goal: Recognize new information, analyze its meaning, infer its relevance, and respond to the new information appropriately. Be willing to change my mind and move in a new direction when it’s warranted.
  • Open-mindedness and truth-seeking are mindset attributes I must have if I want to hear the perspectives of my colleagues and understand the behavior of the people I am working to protect and care for. Goal: Broaden my willingness to hear and learn from the people around me, particularly when they voice ideas that are not my own. Follow reasons and evidence wherever they lead.

Insight: Leadership positions demand strength in critical thinking.

female military officer leading group educational training

  • Improving my decision-making when conditions are highly uncertain, risky, and time-limited requires a keen analysis of the problem. Any gaps I have make it more likely that I will lead my team to take unnecessary risks and make costly errors.  Goal: Sharpen my analytical skills to live up to my team’s expectations.
  • Time is everything. This is why leaders anticipate future problems, identify possible solutions and create and test protocols for future interventions (vital thinking skills and mindset attributes). Goal: Manage risks for myself and others by looking ahead to identify challenges and prepare solutions.
  • Being able to reason well when numbers are a part of the problem is very important. Many critical errors occur because decisions are made without a clear understanding of quantitative relationships, proportions, and probability. Goal: Take advantage of formal training options to address any gaps I have in numeracy skills and practice my critical thinking skills with problems that require reasoning with numbers.

Insight: I’m working to be a better thinker for the people around me.

  • Independent research studies demonstrate the value of developing critical thinking skills and a thinking mindset. Once the metacognition engine has begun, the rewards are self-motivating. Begin now to reflect more purposefully on the quality of my thinking and decision-making.  Look for opportunities to demonstrate my skills and mindset to further my leadership potential. Build my ability to hear and fair-mindedly evaluate the ideas of others. Goal: Working to be a better thinker will help me personally, help my friends and family, and grow my value as a professional.

Collaboration with professionals, teachers, and trainers has helped us create diagnostic assessments for evaluating applicants or trainees, identifying students at risk, or demonstrating the effectiveness of educational techniques. At Insight Assessment you will find valid and reliable training tools that equip professionals to do their jobs well. We’re pleased to share this free reflective exercise to strengthen critical thinking skills and mindset. Contact us about our reasoning skills and mindset assessments tailored for Health and Safety students (HSRT, HSRT-AD, HSRT Plus, and CCTDI) and professionals (INSIGHT First Responder, INSIGHT Defense Pro, INSIGHT Health Pro, and INSIGHT Health Staff).

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