Critical Thinking - Changing Perspectives


People believe that the faster they solve a problem, the better problem-solving skills they have. This thought has been ingrained deep into the general people’s minds right from their childhood through a series of traditional evaluating techniques called end-term examinations, where people are asked to answer a few questions in always a time-bound scenario.

This thought encourage the students to arrive at the quickest conclusion, and not the most optimal conclusion. This method has been observed to leave a disastrous effect on the lateral thinking of the students. They stop having imaginative answers and get institutionalized as per the methods given in their books. In other words, they learn to give their meek adherence to the norm, as opposed to challenging the norm, which brings progress and novelty. A simple exercise will illustrate what we mean.

The following string of words is actually a sentence from which one vowel has been removed. If you can use the vowel only eleven times, and in eleven different places, you will get the sentence. Try to find out what could be the sentence.


Most people attempting a solution would rush into their assumption that the first word is “very”, and depending on that, they would arrive at the conclusion that the missing vowel is ‘e’. However, as they move forward, they realize that placing ‘e’ eleven times in eleven different places doesn’t create any meaningful sentence in the end. The reason behind their confusion is their speedy but faulty decision that the first word is “very”. Hence, they are trying their best to create a sentence with the wrong word.

When preconceived notions prevent us from exploring other options, we are stuck in trying to find a solution for ourselves within that limited thinking. In other words, we think the rest of the options as discrepancies, or as in this case, different words as discrepancies that don’t adhere to our way of solving the puzzle.

How about trying to solve the puzzle using a different word? Let’s try “every”. You can find the problem is immediately solved. The words form a meaningful sentence that reads − “Every fine exemplar exceeds what we expect.

Problem-solvers around the world are caught up in what we know now as the “speed web”, where they are more inclined to find the fastest solution, as compared to the best solution. They need to realize that speed is a necessary, but it is not the ultimately sufficient condition for critical thought.

Speed must be complemented with creative thought and conclusive analysis. Hasty judgements and decisions end up bringing disastrous results at both personal and professional levels. Ironically, a hasty decision causes more loss of time at correcting the mistakes, which could be easily avoided if proper thought were put into the planning and execution in the initial stages.

When we face personal or professional crisis, we are required to find an accurate identification of our problem and then come up with outcomes that are better and faster. A recent report stated that about two-thirds of managers use less than 50% of their collective brainpower for the organization they worked for.

In today’s world, many individuals, teams, and whole institutions put themselves in trainings that help them in sharpening cerebral skills. The need to think critically now lesser of a valuable commodity, and more of a requirement.