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How to improve: When facing any new situation, question or scenario, stop to take a mental inventory of the state of affairs and ask the following questions: When comparing arguments about an issue, independent research ability is key.Arguments are meant to be persuasive—that means the facts and figures presented in their favor might be lacking in context or come from questionable sources.With that in mind, you’re likely wondering what you can do to make sure you’re not one of those people.
It’s also important to know that not all sources are equally valid—take the time to learn the difference between popular and scholarly articles.
This skill can be exceedingly difficult, as even the smartest among us can fail to recognize biases.
“The ability to think critically is more important now than it has ever been,” urges Kris Potrafka, founder and CEO of Music Firsthand.
“Everything is at risk if we don’t all learn to think more critically.” If people cannot think critically, he explains, they not only lessen their prospects of climbing the ladder in their respective industries, but they also become easily susceptible to things like fraud and manipulation.
Does the person posing the argument offer where they got this information from?
If you ask or try to find it yourself and there’s no clear answer, that should be considered a red flag.
The best way to combat this is independent verification; find the source of the information and evaluate.
How to improve: It can be helpful to develop an eye for unsourced claims.
“This is essential for learning to see things from different viewpoints.” How to improve: “Challenge yourself to identify the evidence that forms your beliefs, and assess whether or not your sources are credible,” offers Ruth Wilson, director of development at Brightmont Academy.
First and foremost, you must be aware that bias exists.