To start with, I’d say it was a kind of self discovery and self awareness when I was able to reflect on my own thinking and try to find by which bias is it affected. I never had any idea that there’re so many biases to our thinking!! To be very honest it was little overwhelming for me to read each bias and try to reflect whether I’ve that bias or not. After reading the entire list twice I was able to find 2 to 3 matching ones!!

I mean I could relate to those biases and agree to it that yes many times my thinking is affected by these biases i.e. Hindsight bias and Optimism bias. And the confirmation bias I guess affects everyone by default. Somewhere or the other we’ll have that bias. Also the 2 sessions on critical thinking brought much more clarity to what actually is thinking critically. It was an enriching experience to hear from different people of our group, looking at multiple perspectives and treating each with due respect. At times you agree to some and discover a newer insight; but at times you choose to go with your beliefs and understanding! And that’s the beauty of these life classes. These classes have always given me a chance to introspect and find out about myself, on my own. And when there are people so well educated and experienced, you get to learn so many things. Looking forward to discover more in the coming sessions of critical thinking and preparing myself to be a ‘critical thinker’!!

The Emperor’s New Clothes

I was reading one of the story book “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Anderson. A simple story with a beautiful message.

Read the story here.

I feel that at times I do behave like the courtiers – accept things or don’t question because I think I would look like a fool or may be out of fear of going wrong. We follow age old traditions without questioning, we don’t see the logic behind it (like the courtiers could not see the clothes) but we still accept that it is true.



Critical awareness- Story 1

I was just reading all the list of cognitive biases not with an intention to find one for me 🙂 but to understand them. When I reached denomination effect, I suddenly stopped there and thought of reading the article given in the Notes section. The story was interesting. An experiment done on use of coins compared to notes when you buy something. The experiment was done in US and overseas to compare the effect. The link of the article is here.

To my surprise I do something similar to it. When I have an amount for household expenses, the first thing I do is go looking for change and Petrol pump is my favourite place to explore that option. For me, using that 500 or 1000 rupee note is difficult as the amount looks huge but when converted to change of 100,50 and 10 rupees it is easy (Confession: Doesn’t apply for my love for clothes). To save, I always hunt for 500 and 1000 rupee note. Very similar to the experiment described. I guess, this is due to one another type of bias called “Bandwagon effect”-The tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. I have seen most of the people around me in my childhood doing it.

Hunting more about such articles in Notes section to cross reference, I came across this book “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely. (The Hidden forces that shape our decisions). Will definitely read this when my back log is over :).


My question at this moment of life: “Critical Thinker” v/s “Faith” (e.g. Homeopathy and Acupuncture article)


Keep exploring.



We see only what we are prepared to see..

Critical thinking… it’s too critical.. Rightly said by Pooja. What is it, how do we do it, why is it essential, and how can we get better at it? Too many questions with no precise answers.

It’s like turning into a critique of your thinking. This enables us to analyze the way we think and present evidence for our ideas, rather than simply accepting our own personal reasoning as sufficient proof.

Today our lives are driven by too much information available and technology, which requires us to deal with changes quickly and effectively, It becomes important for us to separate facts from opinions, to evaluate a problem from with different perspectives, to make rational inferences and to withhold personal judgment or biases.. It’s too tricky; it can be developed gradually but requires a lot of an individual’s efforts. Despite the fact that we do all these things there is no surety that our choice will be the right selection.

Then how do we get better at critical thinking? Through asking questions?? What do we already know? How do we know that? What are we trying to prove, disprove, demonstrated, critique, etc.? But sometimes the answers are so complex that the questions get lost. It takes us back to our question to start the reasoning process again.

To become better, it is also important to be aware of our prejudices and biases. A huge list to find one for myself. After going through the list, it seems all are working for me in different ways, influencing seemingly the decisions and probable solutions. The one working for me in most the cases is a negativity bias which says that our thoughts, decisions, judgement are more influenced by negative experiences than the positive ones. Regardless of the possibility that there are 99 positive encounters; one negative experience impacts my judgment. It is just because that the negative information was typically more intensely weighted in my mind.

Another is “Loss aversion” – While I was reading Aditya’s recent G+ post on investing in mutual funds, I realized that because of this bias, I don’t want to invest in it. Just to avoid losses than making gains. Negativity bias is also playing a role here as I have seen people loosing their money in the stock market. Again, I have not taken into account when they made profits out of it. But now, I will try it out once or find any other way of saving money than keeping in the bank as he said, keeping money in the bank is equally risky in case of bankruptcy but again thinking that what are the chances of it?


Critical thinking … is too critical!!

The word “Critical,” is derived from the Greek word krisis, which means “to separate.” When life presents us with turning points, when we are faced with situations that require decisive action, when we need plans that will yield positive consequences, then we also need critical thinking. Such thinking allows us to separate ourselves from the crisis that can suck us into disaster and permits us, instead, to forge new pathways to success.

Critical thinking is itself surrounded with a lot of myths which Shahnaz Patel has fairly talked about. I personally was the one who felt critical thinking means to think of the reasons that could negate the other person’s point. And, that it leads to conflict – difference in opinions..

During the sessions, we got an opportunity to browse through a list of biases which revolves around an individual throughout his/her life, I came to know about my bias too… PESSIMISM BIAS.. Initially, I couldn’t identify which one I follow and then, I was not able to accept when I got one. But, every time I came across a situation where I started thinking negative, I concluded accepting it.

Sooo.. how am I a patient of pessimism bias…!! As the definition says, “The tendency for some people, especially those suffering from depression, to overestimate the likelihood of negative things happening to them,” (surely does not mean I am under depression…) but, yes, I see negative things and actually overestimate stating that mere sath to aisa he ho sakta hai or nothing good can happen with me. This was the case when things go wrong or even if they went right, I try to find the wrong in it.

And, now.. I am looking forward to become a critical thinker and watch my thoughts and analyse my thinking so that it goes in the right direction.

That’s all from my end!!! Till the next time.. Keep thinking critically…!!! 🙂 😉

Uncovering Stubborn Myths about Critical Thinking

First two days of Critical Thinking workshop for most of the participants was majorly a myth busting session. This article will hopefully elucidate what Critical Thinking is by clarifying what it is NOT.

Critical thinking is to criticize

This is one belief which we might be holding onto, in fact I was asked about it by one teacher during life class day 1, about critical thinking but it’s not completely true. I think we feel this way when we focus on the word “Critical” and assume that thinking critically must be negative requiring us to criticize what we have heard, seen or read. So critical thinking is not criticizing, right? We might criticize a claim while thinking critically but it is reasoned consideration, logical and not driven by reflexive, quick, judgmental unthinking.

Critical thinking is “thinking too much” or “over thinking”

When we say we “think too much” or “over think” we all usually mean our brain has thoughts racing wildly within. This overthinking is driven by fear and anxiety and can screw things up when gush of emotions also get added to it. How is it different from critical thinking? This kind of “thinking” is not deliberate, you don’t do it, it happens, it eventually takes control of your sub conscious and keeps convoluting and instead of solving problem it ruins the picture of truth.

Critical thinking is for the BIG decisions of life

Critical thinking can be applied to plethora of cases; from day to day things like- which toothpaste to use, which brand of clothes to buy, whether to buy milk from local doodhwala or packet wala, which newspaper to subscribe to; to the more slightly occasional decisions like which school/board is good for your child, which insurance policy to invest in, what kind of profession should you choose, how to treat diabetes; to mundane truths like women are bad drivers, “marwaris are pakka businessman”, mangoes will make you fat; or while dealing with extremely sensitive and subjective issues like abortion, euthanasia, capital killing or religion. These examples are only indicative of the range of issues CT can be applied to..But considering the fact that critical thinking takes time, effort and careful consideration and that it is intentional it leads up to another question- “which decisions should I put under the scrutiny of critical thinking?” that too will need some critical thinking.

Critical thinking is being a rational fool

Critical thinking is not devoid of other ways of knowing like intuition, faith or emotion. Critical thinking is not cold, harsh or rude.  Emotions can be an obstacle to knowledge – strong emotion can colour perception, distort logic and inflame language. However emotions and reasons are not opposite and emotions can be used to reason and that’s what CT does. Thinking critically requires to analyse that the emotion is the result of careful assessment of situation. 

Critical thinking is about defending your argument

Critical thinkers rigorously question ideas and assumptions rather than accepting them at face value. They will always seek to determine whether the ideas, arguments and findings represent the entire picture and are open to finding if they do not. Critical thinking requires a clear, often uncomfortable, assessment of your beliefs and it comes with an attitude of being open-minded.

Critical thinking is known to all and widely acceptable

Critical thinking is logical, it helps us to identify, formulate and raise vital questions, gathers and assesses relevant information, considers alternatives, derive well-reasoned conclusions, solve problems and all of this in the pursuit of finding the truth. Ideal it sounds! It is but the idea of questioning what exists since long, what is believed by most and acted upon through generations is like facing an alien spaceship to many of us. It is unbelievable, undoable and worst of all threatening. It will take time for people to even come to an understanding that it is okay to question assumptions! So you will have to hang in there for a little longer.

Humans are wired to think rationally

The term rational animal refers to a classical definition of humanity or human nature..So we might come to believe that critical thinking comes very naturally to us. Sorry for shattering your myth but unfortunately it’s not so! Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate, describes this precisely while defining 2 cognitive systems-System 1 operates automatically and quickly with little or no sense of voluntary control. It is a result of long history of human’s primitive hunter and gatherer way of living where they lived constantly under threat and for the sake of survival ingrained system 1 thinking for fast response. System 2 thinking is evolutionarily recent and more humane system which asks us to delay gratification, monitor self control and endure effortful mental calculation. 

Critical thinking is only for the grown ups

We often claim that kids should make wise choices while say choosing friends, scheduling time, eating good, selecting subjects and so on and so forth. Each of these problems offers children chances to exercise and build a foundation for critical thinking and are not minor to children. Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making, includes critical thinking on her list of the seven essential life skills needed by every child. Young children are constrained by fewer assumptions, and pays more attention to the evidence at hand which shows that foundations for critical thinking can develop in younger children.

If I am determined to think critically, there is nothing that can stop me

Well, there is something you should know before you leap- cognitive biases are annoying glitches in our thinking that cause us to make questionable decisions and reach erroneous conclusions. The human brain is both remarkable and powerful, but certainly subject to limitations. Cognitive biases are often a result of our attempt to simplify information processing. These biases sometimes trip us up, leading to poor decisions and bad judgments. 

We all can be critical thinkers!

Gotcha! 😉 For a matter of fact this statement is not fiction, it is real. We all can be critical thinkers! Wait no more..Start by realizing that there are serious problems in our thinking and only we are responsible for setting them right. 

[Contact Vardan sir for books and video references for getting started with critical thinking] 

References: decisions
Definition and purpose of critical thinking by Aaron Dewald
Daniel Kahneman Interview- Nobel Laureate- The Guardian

Life Classes – a different experience

While I was already aware of seven habits and was given an opportunity to read about them extensively, as a Psychologist I was excited to explore the concept of personal development in a professional organisation.  While professional development may be emphasised in certain organisations there are rarely any organisations that also focus on personal development.  This was an opportunity for holistic development. The main idea that I liked in this session was the importance of active listening. In this rapidly changing world, individuals rarely find the time to actually listen to a person.  As discussed during the session many of us jump to give suggestions and prefer not to listen to others at times.  However, through these awareness everyone realised this pattern and were able to work on this skill efficiently.

Paradigm shift was another concept that was covered quite well and gave an opportunity to understand behaviour of others around us.  Overall, these sessions create an environment of sharing which makes us realise that there are so many around us who are experiencing similar issues.  It provides an opportunity to look at problems from different perspective and gives a deeper understanding of our own mental process and how we as individuals can act as a barrier to our own problems.

Confirmation Bias – I see it everywhere!

Ever since I learnt about this bias, I see it everywhere (I guess this is also because of the confirmation bias)

Ayman ma’am was wearing lovely white shirt today and got stain of ketchup on it! 🙁

Immediate reaction of others “When you wear white, it gets dirty” “Kuch na kuch khaana white tshirt pe girta hi hai, hai na???” “Never wear white”

My processor immediately started making all possible connections and I was about to say “Yes correct, never wear white” but I stopped and said “Isn’t this a confirmation bias?!”

Ayman ma’am smiled and I felt good! 🙂

Since childhood locked my prime thought……….

Dear all,

I was not aware about my learning which I did in life and love class. That learning  showed me the solution of my problem . Since childhood I locked myself in wrong paradigm about my one of the family member and that prime thought hampered on my life till today. That negative thought was the root cause of my problems from which I suffered till yet. That thought was affecting on my professional life also. So now I set my new paradigm and new actions which I already started in my personal life. It is very difficult for me to work on that but I will do. I really want to say thank you to Suparna ma’am, Sanjana ma’am, Pankti ma’am , Bhargavi ma’am and Kruti ma’am along with the management  for opening my eyes. I hope people will able to understand my learning in short.Things are going nice in my life.