Pakistanis Must Develop Critical Thinking Skills To Succeed In Today’s World
What separates an innovative and robust country from one that struggles to function as a society and a nation? The ability for its population to develop critical thinking skills.
If you look at all the powerful countries in the world today, what do they have in common? They have been able to solve many highly complex problems and make remarkable advancements to humankind. How did people in these societies make life-altering breakthroughs? They questioned the status quo and invented more significant and better alternatives, and their societies allowed them to do it.
The United States
- Personal Computers
- Original Telephones
- Harnessing the Power of Electricity
- Cell Phones
- Internet (TCP/IP Protocols)
- Powered Flight
- Assembly Lines
- Air Conditioning
- Global Position Systems (GPS)
- Traffic Lights
- Credit / Debit Cards
- Countless Medical Advancements
- First and Only Country To Put People On the Moon
- World-Wide-Web (HTTP Protocols)
- Light Bulbs
- Steam Engine
- Hydraulic Press
- Waterproof Material
- First Radio Station
- Electric Motor
- Jet Engine
- Industrial Revolution
- Videotape Recorders
- Electric Powered Trams
- Electric Transformers
- First Country To Put a Man in Space
- Caterpiller Tracks
- Petrol Cracking
These are just a few of the inventions these countries have made over the course of their history. There are undoubtedly countless more, and I barely listed any of their accomplishments. What primary characteristic did these countries have in common? They had terrific people that had the power of critical thinking. They were able to see a problem, and through a series of highly sophisticated thought sequences and tests, they were able to solve those problems.
How do I know that Pakistan has a significant critical thinking problem today? I know this by experience. I have trained, guided and coached countless college graduates on how to perform basic job functions, and I am shocked at the lack of ability a considerable amount of them have to think on their own. They require countless hours of hand holding.
The worst is when you explain something, they say they get it; then you don’t hear from them for days. When I go ask them how they are doing, they have nothing to show me. I ask them why they haven’t started their work. They say, “Because, sir I had more questions.” So, yes, they sit there at their desks doing nothing, until I come back to check on them. They didn’t bother to be proactive and ask me those remaining questions so they could continue working and being productive.
As I said before in other articles, Pakistan is a country that has enormous potential. We need to get education focused on the right areas to help the population be successful. With the coming age of artificial intelligence and robots, it is more critical now than ever to teach the world’s population ways to remain relevant. If we do not teach our children how to be better thinkers, then when the robots and AI start taking over the mundane and more uncomplicated jobs, then our children are doomed to a life of joblessness, starvation, hunger and despair.
I’ve read many articles from popular sites in Pakistan that discuss the critical thinking problem in Pakistan. It is quite an eye-opening experience. I think many writers have perfectly summed up why Pakistan faces this issue. One article from Dawn suggests that there are so many topics in Pakistan that are off-limits to being questioned, that it stifles critical thinking. Pakistanis must be able to challenge, debate and talk about all topics across all domains to become a society that can think on a deeper level.
If we are to introduce critical thinking in Pakistan’s society from a young age, we need to have more “safe” topics in which to think critically. I understand that Pakistan isn’t ready to completely open up on a lot of topics, but it is coming. The internet is going to continue to change Pakistan drastically over the next twenty years.
The internet is going to continue to change Pakistan drastically over the next twenty years.
With all the youth in Pakistan today, 63% under the age of 25, these young people will grow up with the ability to search, read and discover the world with the power of the internet and smartphones. They will connect with and research the world around them like never before, and they will find anything they want to see. Will “unsafe topics” start to become safe to talk about in the future? Yes, unless Pakistan ban’s all internet connections to the outside world. I do believe taboos will fall, as the young people will thirst for more worldwide trends, pop-cultures and with that their ideologies will shift.
- Require critical thinking from yourself.When you interact with other people, you should force yourself to be more attentive and actively process the information you are gathering. If you ask more questions during your conversations, you will naturally be more engaged.
- Avoid these thinking errors:
- Appealing to an authority to strengthen your case in an argument.
- Selective Arguments – When you gloss over very important alternative viewpoints as to not weaken your case. You should also consider all alternative perspectives during an argument. Even if the opposing argument is entirely wrong, they may have some valuable truths in them that could benefit the overall solution.
- Cognitive shortcuts – When you do not bend in your beliefs or viewpoints even when there are better possibilities.
- Jumping to conclusions -When you prematurely make a definitive judgment with only a small set of facts available to you, and therefore you cannot accurately test a theory.
- Overgeneralization – When you assume that because one thing is true, then other things must also be true.
- You need to learn specific strategies.
- Be aware of your own thinking patterns. Learn the art of introspection and focus your mind to become aware of your own alertness, self-confidence, emotional intelligence, biases, attention spans, ability to explore your emotions.
- Train your focus abilities – Today it is harder than ever to remain focused due to technological distractions. People don’t listen well and they don’t read well because of their inability to focus. You need to train yourself to focus harder so you can give time to critical thought.
- Use evidence instead of opinions for your reasoning – When people make claims, you should ask to see the the supporting evidence to back it up. Don’t follow people blindly, ask for evidence to form a basis to make your decisions.
Today’s world requires all of us to be better at critical thinking. I realise in the Pakistani society you are generally taught to do as the father says and do not question him. Also, you are taught NOT to question such things as religious beliefs, certain politics, certain behaviours, certain values, certain rules, certain laws, certain subjects. All of these taboo’s do strip away the opportunity to practice critical thinking, and ultimately it does hurt a society’s chances of advancement. The real reason so many Pakistani’s struggle with a lack of critical thinking skills is because they are not given a chance to practice it. When they get to their first jobs, they don’t know how to think outside of the box, and they don’t understand how to solve simple problems on their own, therefore they struggle. They do the same things they did as a child because they blindly follow their seniors and consequently the thought pool never expands.
Here in the United States, our system of children leaving the home at the age of 18 encourages parents to teach their children life lessons at an earlier age. If we don’t teach them life lessons, then they will struggle out on their own. Therefore, children must be taught how to think for themselves, how to be live on their own and are encouraged to question everything. When you allow the youth to question anything and everything, you are sharpening their minds for more significant advancements in their careers, and maybe they will invent something amazing that changes the world.
Now I am not saying the USA’s system of children leaving home at 18 is the correct one, but I am merely stating that it forces parents to teach critical thinking skills to their young. If they don’t, their children will end up bruised and battered by the competitive world in which we live. Yes, our children can come back home if they fail, but that further hurts their self-esteem as there is a significant social stigma against living with your parents past the age of 22. Therefore, it’s best to teach your children to succeed from an early age, than to watch them learn it in their 20’s.
Now Let’s Look At Pakistan’s Main Inventions and Contributions To Human Advancement.
- The Brain – Chip Connection – Working In Calgary, Canada
- The Pleuroperitoneal Shunt
- The Ommaya Reservoir
- Higgs Boson Subatomic Particle
- Brain – A computer virus
- Community Sanitation
- Non-Explosive Fertilizer
Pakistan should be proud of the achievements made by the inventors above. However, for Pakistan to have more prominent and more far-reaching inventions to take place, you must open the gates and allow critical thinking to flow freely to every brain residing in Pakistan.
I hope this article leads the way to bring more awareness of how critical it is to have critical thinkers in Pakistan.