Life Reflections
Life Reflections
Critical Thinking - What is It?
My first resume listed skills such as 'organized,' 'detail-oriented,' and 'assertive,' but these seem to words of the past. According to an article in the WSJ this week, it is 'critical thinking' that has become the new buzzword in business. The problem is, no one can really tell you what that is. My personal definition of critical thinking is the ability to draw from different sources, opinions, and examples to form a solution to a problem or to improve a system. This can of course be tweaked and applied to smaller examples, but all together it is critically analysing information and applying it. This definition, however, is not exactly what businesses such as Goldman Sachs might think: “It’s one of those words—like diversity was, like big data is—where everyone talks about it but there are 50 different ways to define it,” says Dan Black, Americas director of recruiting at the accounting firm and consultancy EY. So with this confusion, how are recent graduates supposed to know if they are fit for the job, and how do employers know what they are looking for in a candidate? There have been plenty of studies about the difference in how many students think they are critical thinkers, and how many employers disagree (According to WSJ: A Harris Interactive survey of 2,001 U.S. college students and 1,000 hiring managers last fall found that 69% of students felt they were “very or completely prepared” for problem-solving tasks in the workplace, while fewer than half of the employers agreed.) So what can you do to please this confused crowd of hiring managers? Be a problem solver first and foremost. Not all employers are looking for someone who will come in a rock the boat. Find a way to show that you will solve problems, improve the system, and work hard without reinventing the business model. Be assertive, questioning, and open to learn new things. But never stop analysing your tasks, what your boss tells you, what your business is actually aiming for. Continue to think critically, and maybe then your employer will see in you what they wanted all along. For the WSJ article:
Defining the Self - How to Not Exist
- An Oxford philosopher thinks he can distill all morality into a formula. Is he right? - The New Yorker always has interesting ideas relating to how to take in the world, and this piece is no different. Larissa Macfaquhar explores the philosophy of Derek Parfit, who questions the human notion of identity and the continuity of that identity. Parfit is thought by many to be the most original moral philosopher in the English-speaking world. He argues that personal identity doesn't matter at all. He explains that the 'self' isn't all-or-nothing. There is no way to determine when you are no longer yourself, or when you are fully yourself because we are in a constant state of change. For example, when a patient with severe dementia loses all memory and connection to what we define as 'themselves,' who is the person we see in front of us? It is the same brain, same body, but a completely different self. The article delves into Parfit's life in order to explain his theories further. It is truly a mind-expanding read. If the opening paragraph doesn't draw you in, I don't know what will: "You are in a terrible accident. Your body is fatally injured, as are the brains of your two identical-triplet brothers. Your brain is divided into two halves, and into each brother’s body one half is successfully transplanted. After the surgery, each of the two resulting people believes himself to be you, seems to remember living your life, and has your character. (This is not as unlikely as it sounds: already, living brains have been surgically divided, resulting in two separate streams of consciousness.) What has happened? Have you died, or have you survived? And if you have survived who are you? Are you one of these people? Both? Or neither?"
Why Saying is Believing - The Science Of Self-Talk
I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, but what about positive self-talk? NPR reporter Laura Starecheski took this theory of self-affirmation to leading eating disorder psychologist, David Sarwer, to see if there is any scientific backing. He says that, in fact, a mirror is one of the first tools he uses with some new patients. He stands them in front of a mirror and coaches them to use gentler, more neutral language as they evaluate their bodies. It seems that your image of yourself has almost nothing to do with your actual physical being. It's all in your head. For example, in a 2013 study, watched women with anorexia walk through doorways in a lab. The women, they noticed, turned their shoulders and squeezed sideways, even when they had plenty of room. Our brain need to have an internal sense of our bodies so that we aren't constantly walking into walls or knocking over coffee cups, but how is it that some of us get such a warped image of ourselves? The article goes on to explain how it is much easier to be hard on yourself than on others, so another study was conducted: Volunteers were asked to give a speech — with only five minutes of mental preparation. As they prepped, some were told to talk to themselves as "I." Others were asked to either call themselves "you," or to use their own names as they readied their speeches. Researchers found that people who used "I" had a mental monologue that sounded something like, " 'Oh, my god, how am I going do this? I can't prepare a speech in five minutes without notes. It takes days for me to prepare a speech!' " People who used their own names, on the other hand, were more likely to give themselves support and advice, saying things like, "Ethan, you can do this. You've given a ton of speeches before." These people sounded more rational, and less emotional — perhaps because they were able to get some distance from themselves. Next time you're feeling down in the dumps, try this approach. Be it when you're getting dressed in the morning or preparing for a stressful day, with some distance, it's a lot easier to be kinder to that other person.