Overcoming Hindrances To Critical Thinking

  • Critical thinking takes place in a mental environment consisting of our experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Some elements in this inner environment can sabotage our efforts to think critically or at least make critical thinking more difficult. Fortunately, we can exert some control over these elements. With practice, we can detect errors in our thinking, restrain attitudes and feelings that can disrupt our reasoning, and achieve enough objectivity to make critical thinking possible.
  • The most common of these hindrances to critical thinking fall into two main categories: (1) Those obstacles that crop up because of how we think and (2) those that occur because of what we think. The first category is comprised of psychological factors such as our fears, attitudes, motivations, and desires. The second category is made up of certain philosophical beliefs.

Psychological Obstacles

  • None of us is immune to the psychological obstacles. Among them are the products of egocentric thinking. We may accept a claim solely because it advances our interests or just because it helps us save face. To overcome these pressures, we must (1) be aware of strong emotions that can warp our thinking, (2) be alert to ways that critical thinking can be undermined, and (3) ensure that we take into account all relevant factors when we evaluate a claim.
  • The first category of hindrances also includes those that arise because of group pressure. These obstacles include conformist pressures from groups that we belong to and ethnocentric urges to think that our group is superior to others. The best defense against group pressure is to proportion our beliefs according to the strength of reasons.

Philosophical Obstacles

  • We may also have certain core beliefs that can undermine critical thinking (the second category of hindrances). Subjective relativism is the view that truth depends solely on what someone believes—a notion that may make critical thinking look superfluous. But subjective relativism leads to some strange consequences. For example, if the doctrine were true, each of us would be infallible. Also, subjective relativism has a logical problem—it’s self-defeating. Its truth implies its falsity. There are no good reasons to accept this form of relativism.
  • Social relativism is the view that truth is relative to societies—a claim that would also seem to make critical thinking unnecessary. But this notion is undermined by the same kinds of problems that plague subjective relativism.
  • Philosophical skepticism is the doctrine that we know much less than we think we do. One form of philosophical skepticism says that we cannot know anything unless the belief is beyond all possible doubt. But this is not a plausible criterion for knowledge. To be knowledge, claims need not be beyond all possible doubt, but beyond all reasonable doubt.


6 Obstacles to Creative Thinking and How to Overcome Them: Develop Problem Solving Skills for Business Success

There are six major obstacles to creative thinking that could be preventing you from learning how to improve your problem solving skills for business success. Any one of them, if you fail to recognize and remove it, can hold you back.

Obstacle to Creative Thinking #1: Lack of Direction

The first obstacle to creative thinking is the lack of clear goals and objectives, written down, accompanied by detailed, written plans of action. When you become crystal clear about what you want, and how you are going to achieve it, your creative mind springs to life. You immediately begin to sparkle with ideas and insights that help you to move forward and improve your problem solving skills for business success.

Obstacle to Creative Thinking #2: Fear of Failure

The second major obstacle to creative thinking is the fear of failure or loss. It is the fear of being wrong, of making a mistake, or of losing money or time. As it happens, it is not the experience of failure that holds you back. You have failed countless times in life and it hasn’t done you any permanent damage. It is the possibility of failure, the anticipation of failure that paralyses action and becomes the primary reason for failure and ineffective problem solving.

Obstacle to Creative Thinking #3: Fear of Criticism

The third major obstacle to creative thinking is the fear of criticism, or the fear of ridicule, scorn or rejection. It is the fear of sounding dumb or looking foolish. This is triggered by the desire to be liked and approved of by others, even people you don’t know or care about. As a result, you decide that, “If you want to get along, you have to go along.”

It is amazing how many people live lives of underachievement and mediocrity because they are afraid to attempt to sell themselves or their ideas for business success. They are afraid to ask someone to buy or try their product or service. As a result of these fears of rejection and criticism, they play it safe and settle for far less than they are truly capable of earning.

Obstacle to Creative Thinking #4: Striving for Constancy

A major obstacle to creative thinking is called “homeostasis.” This is a deep subconscious desire to remain consistent with what you have done or said in the past. It is the fear of doing or saying something new or different from what you did before. This homeostatic impulse holds people back from becoming all they are capable of becoming and from achieving
business success
.

In homeostasis, there seems to be an irresistible unconscious pressure that brings you back to doing what you have always done. Unfortunately, this tendency leads you into your own “comfort zone.”  Your comfort zone, over time, becomes a groove, and then a rut.  You become stuck. All progress stops. In no time, you begin to use your marvelous powers of rationalization to justify not changing. As Jim Rohn says, “The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.” Homeostasis is a major killer of human potential, which will hinder you from achieving business success.

Obstacle to Creative Thinking #5: Passive Vs. Proactive Thinking

The fifth obstacle to creative thinking for business success is passivity. If you do not continually stimulate your mind with new ideas and information, it loses its vitality and energy, very much like a muscle that is not exercised. Instead of thinking proactively and creatively, your thinking becomes passive and automatic.

A major cause of passive thinking is routine. Most people get up at the same time each morning, follow the same routine at their jobs, socialize with the same people in the evenings, and watch the same television programs. As a result of not continually challenging their minds, they become dull and complacent. If someone suggests or proposes a new idea or way of doing things, they usually react with negativity and discouragement. They very soon begin to feel threatened by any suggestion of change from the way things have been done in the past.

Obstacle to Creative Thinking #6: Rationalizing and Justifying

The sixth obstacle to creative thinking for business success is rationalizing.  We know that human beings are rational creatures, but what does that mean?  Being rational means that we continually use our minds to explain the world to ourselves, so we can understand it better and feel more secure. In other words, whatever you decide to do, or not do, you very quickly come up with a good reason for your decision. By constantly rationalizing your decisions, you cannot learn to improve performance for business success.

Developing Problem Solving Skills for Business Success

There are two main reasons why creativity is important in achieving business success. First, problem solving and making decisions are the key functions of the entrepreneur. As much as 50% to 60% of your time in business and in life is spent in problem solving; the better you become at thinking up creative ways to solve the inevitable and unavoidable problems of daily life and work, and making effective decisions, the more successful you will be.

Second, each of us wants to make more money. We all want to be more successful, and enjoy greater status, esteem and recognition. Your problem solving ability is a key determinant of how much of these you accomplish.

Thank you for reading this post on the six obstacles to creative thinking and how to overcome them. If you have any other tips on how to develop problem solving skills for business success, please feel free to comment and share below!

Topics included in this article include

Creative Thinking

Problem Solving

Business Success

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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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