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The Importance of Critical Thinking & Decision-Making in Times of COVID-19

“Men are rational animals”. This belief was first defined by the Neoplatonic philosopher Porphyry. This educational philosophy actually puts humankind in the class of thinking animals. It is not that wrong, though. Every one of us thinks every second. We think about what we wear, what we say, who we support, which way to go, where we stand, and so on. These all cover the normal state of our brain process. However, there are such times that we need to act quickly and rationally amid a crisis. Critical thinking comes to stage at this point. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been struggling so hard for many things in our lives that it’s become a strong habit of making decisions promptly. That’s why sometimes we accidentally pass the logical part. In this blog post, we try to unveil the subject of critical thinking during pandemic in-depth. Reading further, you may find some quite juicy information to integrate into your daily lives. Before giving details, it’d be good to thoroughly understand the definition of critical thinking. Let’s begin!

What Is Critical Thinking?

The Foundation for Critical Thinking defines the term as the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information gathered by observation or experience. This long explanation might be the direct answer to the question “What is critical thinking?” And we’d better examine critical thinking in five separate parts, which are:

  1. Personal Cognitive Characteristics: People think with their own cognitive base direction deep down. Hence, our own characteristics and many other stimuli direct us when we think under uncertainty.
  2. State of Conflict: Feeling a strong conflict forms the nature of thinking. So it wouldn’t be wrong to say that feeling contradiction is a motivating factor that affects critical thinking.
  3. Solution to Contradiction: Like the critical thinking itself, the solution is inside of us. When we think of a conflict, we also want to find a cure for it.
  4. Stimulation: All the outer alerts cause a sense of contradiction in our brain.
  5. Self Thoughts and Beliefs: Slightly different from the cognitive base, our own beliefs generated from experience affect our decision-making process in crisis.

Decision-Making under Uncertainty

Decision-making under uncertainty can be explained as the state of not knowing what to do to alter the consequence of the main problem as there are too many unknowns and uncertainties around. There must be times when you couldn’t have a clue about the solution to a specific problem with complete confidence and comfort. This is because there are so many intruders in your head saying you should be really quick; otherwise, everything under your responsibility will fall apart. Stress levels in your brain start to go high, and the related parts of your brain activate fight-or-flight mode. Critical thinking in times of pandemic totally reflects this state of mind. And there are some methods of decision-making under uncertainty that includes many criteria.

  • Criterion of Pessimism: The decision-maker is pessimistic about the future. Also called Maximin Criterion
  • Criterion of Optimism: The decision-maker is optimistic about the future. Also called Maximax Criterion
  • Criterion of Regret: The decision-maker feels regretful selecting a particular action.

How to Practise Critical Thinking in Times of Pandemic

If you don’t know how to practise critical thinking, this part is for you. Here, we prepared a list of actions worth trying in times of pandemic and stressful periods in your lives. Following these steps, you will cope with pressure and tension more comfortably.

  • Try being adaptable: We admit that decision-making in a pandemic is not an easy thing to do. However, trying to be adaptable helps a lot. You can take your adaptability levels higher by opening your mind to various possibilities around you. This can be realized with the help of a priority list for every problem. There is nothing better than ranked list of actions to make the solution happen faster than you imagine. Take small steps through your actions and enjoy the progress.
  • Get involved: When you stay outside of the decision-making process in uncertain times, there’s a slighter chance for you to know what is going on. The more you penetrate, the more you are fed with ideas forming the possible future.
  • Stay calm: At times of stress, it is highly likely to lean on one side. You can easily be affected by anyone’s thoughts as you act quickly. However, staying calm and impartial helps you decide fairly and stay outside the status quo.
  • Benefit from collective wisdom: Decision-making tools will help you get your colleagues involved in your decision making process and support you to find your way out. Even if you are stressed or not, try using a decision tree or a mobile decision-making app to make big and important decisions. Let your team mates support you on your decisions!