Thinking Critically

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By Angela Mutiso

Putting Things in Perspective

If You Think Education Is Expensive Try Ignorance…

In his celebrated book – The Devil’s Advocate, described by author Erskine Caldwell as a perceptive novel, prolific author Morris West presents one of his characters Nicholas Black in an exceptionally captivating manner. He says – “He had a chameleon talent for identifying himself with every situation even while his thoughts and plans ran contrariwise. “

This ability to identify yourself with your circumstances and fit well in your settings, usually, stems from your proficiencies as well as the extent of your understanding of people, and your worldview. Being able to understand a situation well, takes more than you think. Your experiences, education, knowledge and interactions, influence your reasoning and comprehension of matters in more ways than you can imagine. It all boils down to ones discernments or better still, perspectives.

Perspectives are the ways of looking at or interpreting something, based on your knowledge, beliefs, or emotions. Applying different perspectives can help you see new possibilities, overcome mental blocks, and refine your ideas.

Let us examine how perspectives relate to emotional intelligence and critical thinking, writing and other aspects of our existence. Let us find out how this significant subject enables us to navigate our lives and enriches our interactions.

Perspectives refer to how we see understand and perceive the world around us. They are fashioned by our personal experiences, culture, values and biases. They determine how we visualize events, understand information, and make judgments.

 Perspectives can broaden our worldview and make us look at life from several viewpoints. It makes us study situations critically and emboldens us to continuously analyze, evaluate and empathize. They give us focus and direction. Focus directs you and helps you to build and concentrate on a specific idea.

Why do people do things the way they do?

People’s thinking and attitudes are determined by many factors. Their education, exposure, cultural background, religion, interactions, experiences and environment among other things. Perceptive people gain great consolation during difficult moments from their ability to intrinsically decode situations they find themselves in. A gift not everyone has. You get this skill in many ways including continuous learning. Perspectives permit you to explore options in an informed way.

In today’s global world, understanding technological and regular advancements is priceless. Perspectives empower you to use critical thinking skills every day in diverse ways. They also encourage emotional stability. When discussing perspectives and trying to understand why some people behave the way they do, take note that people and circumstances differ in their complexity and diversity. You can assume that you have understood somebody or a situation well, but you may be missing the bigger picture because of your own limitations. You can become perspective by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. This increases your ability to connect with them in an authentic way.

Here’s how perspectives help our lives and their importance

It allows us to empathize with others better, to be open-minded and flexible, and improves interactions and communication. 

Perspectives encourage diversity and varied ideas can lead to more innovative and effective conflict resolutions, as all angles of a situation are considered. When you involve different perspectives, you get new ideas and experiences. 

Besides, you widen your scope in life and, encourage personal growth and continuous learning. You create harmonious societies because of your tolerance level and understanding of different cultures and religion. Moreover, when you become perceptive, you can re-examine your expectations and be more flexible, amiable and approachable. 

You can also create a win-win situation by appreciating different people’s perspectives during misunderstandings and work out mutually beneficial solutions. Being open to different perspectives makes us more adaptable to change and new situations.

 We can change our thinking and actions based on the information and standpoints available. We can be globally aware, and deal easily with international issues. In addition, Interacting with diverse perspectives prevents us from falling into echo chambers, where we only hear and accept opinions that support our existing beliefs. Empathy enables us to maintain a healthy and balanced view of every situation.

 We can mold our messages to be more appropriate and relatable to our audience, leading to better relations and good understanding. Being perceptive encourages intellectual humility (intellectual humility entails being aware of one’s biases and prejudices as well as the limitations of one’s viewpoint and the extent of one’s ignorance) – acknowledging that we don’t have all the answers.  

What is the impact of perception and emotional intelligence in personal life?

Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, succeed at school and work, and achieve your career and personal goals. It can also help you to connect with your feelings, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about what matters most to you (

Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Some studies suggest that it can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an innate characteristic. The good news is that that – Emotional intelligence can be learned and developed. 

According to Forbes, there is no better tool to accomplish your goals than having a high EQ. A high EQ gives you the ability to consistently and effectively advance down the path to success… Without high EQ, all is a struggle. With it, all falls into place, and you move forward in a focused, positive manner. Understanding how you and others operate will help you to be more authentic, powerful and creative. Better EQ will give you insight that you’ve probably never experienced before. It will let you to be the best possible version of yourself at work too. 

There are four domains of Emotional Intelligence, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Each can enable a leader face any crisis with less stress, less emotional reactivity and fewer unintended imports.

Many employers would not think of employing someone with low EQ. Mondo (an Addison group company)says – Employees with high levels of emotional intelligence handle pressure and stress better by being aware of any changes in their emotions as they happen and implementing healthy coping mechanisms to relieve any stress or negative emotions to remain in control.

It notes that their empathetic nature allows them to collaborate effectively with and react accordingly to others from a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds, which reduces the occurrence of internal bickering or office politics…instead….Mondo notes that their EQ is spotted quickly even during interviews, because they make the interview informal, conversational, and warm at the start. This creates a more comfortable and friendly atmosphere that encourages honesty.

All in all they know when to take a step back rather than waiting until they reach their breaking point.

Critical thinking and writing

Critical thinking goes hand in hand with perspectives. University of the people states that “By practicing critical thinking, we are allowing ourselves not only to solve problems but also to come up with new and creative ideas to do so. Critical thinking allows us to analyze these ideas and adjust them accordingly.”

This feature was partly inspired by Joanna Gibson’s book – Perspectives – Case studies for readers and writers, Gibson says her book is a cross disciplinary, multi-cultural rhetorical reader and guide to writing that emphasizes the connection between reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.  

In this book that delves deeply on perspectives, the author expounds that when writers think critically about their writing, they consider their purpose in writing and their intended readers. In college courses, ultimately the writer’s purpose is to answer a question, solve a problem or lead a recommendation.  When you think critically about your own writing, you recognize problems you have encountered in writing a paper and you work on strategies for solving them. She adds that your critical thinking skills help you determine an appropriate manner for accomplishing your purpose.

This stimulating book also talks about how to become part of the academic discourse community. Gibson notes that being part of such a community can be difficult when sources use highly technical vocabulary or present ideas that are complex and unfamiliar. However she explains what she refers to as an extreme scenario; If for example, “a family member experiences a life threatening illness, a person can very quickly make the transition from knowing very little about medical terminology to being able to discuss the illness in detail with members of the medical community.”

The difference between perspectives and perceptions?

Perception is what you interpret – it is your understanding of a given situation, person, or object. It is the meaning you assign to any given stimulus. Perspective is your point of view – it’s the lens you see the world through and determines how you view yourself, others, and everything else around you – Onboardonline

In the final analysis, being perspective aware is crucial for developing ourselves, being empathetic and developing problem-solving skills. It encourages tolerance and acceptance, and inspires a non-violent and all-encompassing community. 

Perspectives enable us to make good decisions, build better relationships, and promote good will in our communities. 

The writer is the editorial consultant of the Accountant Journal

Email [email protected]


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