How urgent is to develop better thinking skills?

Critical thinking has been in demand for a while, but the events of past year and early 2021 led many to believe that we’re now experiencing an epistemic crisis: people seem to have lost the ability to think well, think for themselves and think critically. All of a sudden critical thinking stopped being an arcane term used in colleges and an elusive skill demanded by employers, but it became a day-to-day necessity. You can see the meteoric rise of critical thinking in one of my favourite tools, Google ngram viewer. You can see terms’ popularity in books over the years. This graph gives you a good idea about the increase of interest in critical thinking.

Both critical and analytical thinking skills have been identified in the Top 15 skills for 2025 by the World Economic Forum. Take a look at the whole report, but you can also see the list below.

The report received quite a lot of attention, with a few outlets (apart from the obvious ones, examples include Muchskills and Hackernoon) picking up on thinking skills being in demand. It’s clear that the professional world needs more better thinkers.

But it’s no longer just the world of business that understands the importance of thinking skills. I was positively surprised to read this opinion piece, where teaching people critical thinking was identified as one of the ways to improve lives in the USA. Don’t take my word for it, just search for most recent news articles talking about critical thinking and you’ll be surprised that it became a trending topic in the media.

I found that there’s also a more personal aspect to it. I came across this interesting article talking about epistemic wellbeing.

“Just as there are factors that affect our physical and mental wellbeing, there are factors that affect our epistemic wellbeing. Epistemic wellbeing is your reasonably based sense that you’ll be able to know what you want and need to know about the world in order for your life to go well.”

Kenneth Boyd

Now, there’s a reason why I’m providing you just with basic information and links to read more on these topics. Yes, I don’t want to present my opinion and convince you that the world needs better thinkers now more than ever – I want everyone to arrive at this conclusion by themselves by browsing through these resources and doing their own research.

It would be easier to launch an aggressive campaign to champion thinking skills, but this would be a bit hypocritical, wouldn’t it? Instead, go out there, read more, and think about it. And if you come across any interesting resources in your journey, please do share them.

If you’d like to learn more, subscribe to Lessons in Thinkfulness and receive free, weekly lessons designed to help you become more thinkful at work, in business and in life.

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Marta Stelmaszak Rosa
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I'm a researcher, academic and writer dedicated to becoming a better thinker. Every day, I practise thinkfulness: consciously adopting a structured approach to thinking in order to understand and change the world. The world needs all of us to become better thinkers, so let's start a thinkfulness revolution together!

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