It’s only fair to note that I didn’t care for this course when I had first started it. I thought that the course work was fairly elementary and I did not see the point of this class. A class on critical thinking seemed to have been a waste of my loan money. But then, I started to realize that I was facing so many of the barriers that were prohibiting me from taking in the information. I was not allowing the information to penetrate my mind because my ego got in the way. Isn’t that cliché? The material the instructor had given us in class, just so happens to mirror the turmoil in my personal life. The lessons that I have learned in this course will follow me forever.
Here is what I know…
In this course, I learned that my barriers are not my best friend. I have a habit of letting my emotions get the best of me. This internal barrier has been a major influence in all of my life’s events. When I become emotional, I forget to think logically. Ridel states that, “Emotions can suppress critical thinking from taking place.” This is so true in my case. But I learned that I should try not to let my emotions make my decisions.
I’ve also learned how to ask more questions to get to the root of a problem. This has been the most valuable lesson for me. When I started to really take this information in, I started to feel myself become a lot happier. I started to question everything and everyone around me to try to pull knowledge from them. I started to realize that the friends and family members that I have always taken advice from were just as clueless as I felt that I was. This was a disappointment, but it was also a learning experience. I no longer felt that I had anything to prove to these people. I had been set free in some way or another. Less time on the phone.
Ironically, Learning how to problem solve seemed to have hit home a little more. I have used the problem solving skills professionally, but never used it personally. One night, I sat in bed with one of my legal pads constructing a list. I wanted to figure out the root of my problems. I wanted to weigh the pros and cons. I wanted to find a solution to my unhappiness. Whether my issues were financial, spiritual or mental I wanted to figure it out. Then it hit me! My issues were deeper than financial; my problem wasn’t just that I was depressed. My problem was my ego!
My ego would not allow me to focus or take in new information. My ego would not allow me to ask for help with my bills because I was afraid of being judged. My ego would not let me succeed because of the guilt that I would feel trying to surpass my friends. My ego was my problem. My questions allowed me to see that this class was all about reflection and not just about a grade. I had to put my ego in check and actually do the work. I had to show up for class and life.
Since realizing that I have had to put my ego in check, I have been using the problem solving steps every day. I have been asking questions to get to the root of my problems. But I have noticed that lately I have been even more secluded than I have ever been. I have been enjoying the thoughts in my head. My own thoughts! Not the thoughts that have been passed down to me from friends and family members. Not the thoughts passed on to be by co-workers. But I hear my own thoughts in my head. I hear my own voice now. Finally!
Ridel, Robert W, and Ph.D. Critical Thinking in Everyday Life, Calm Sky Media, 2015.