May 1, 2017

How To Level-Up Your Critical Thinking Skills

Ready! Set! Go!

I picked up my pencil and went straight to work. A 3×3 square diagram looked me right in the eye. The task seemed daunting, countless thoughts rushing to my head as I attempted to gather myself. I could feel tiny drops of sweat percolating through my forehead with each passing second. My enthusiastic classmates scrambling to complete the magic square made it seem like we were all competing in a cut-throat episode of Chopped!

In that moment, I figured out my first number: 5.

“35 seconds left,” My teacher calls out. I fill in two more numbers: 2 and 7.

TAP! TAP! TAP!

The pressure was on. I erased and re-erased several numbers, my desk covered with eraser shavings.

“10 seconds left!”

TICK! TOCK! TICK! TOCK!

Critical Thinking. Two words I used to dread as a kid. The pressure. The frustration. The pestering feeling of stupidity. All of these things piled on to the already boring, humdrum subject that was school.

That was until I learned how to turn it into a game.

Yes, you heard me – a game. Something fun. Something exciting. Something that didn’t involve textbooks and tests, or the pressure of teachers breathing down your neck.

That was the kicker. I mean, technically, these factors were still there in reality; however, I was not consciously aware of them. What originally was a collection of math problems had transformed into something entirely different – an immersive experience that brought out my motivation from the depths of the dark abyss. It felt like one of those “Aha!” moments and, with each new problem/issue I encountered as I got older, I became all the more determined to solve them.

Children and adults alike, now have the privilege of experiencing these mesmerizing games in the form of “escape rooms.” Not only do they foster critical thinking and problem-solving, but they allow people to emerge out of their little bubble and socialize, which is a highly important skill in the work place. Participants will come to realize that communication is key for these escape-the-room games and, when it comes down to the wire, it can be the difference between success or failure.

Whether you succeed or not, the point is to motivate yourself enough to be engaged in the task at hand.

When you’re engaged in something, you become engrossed in the subject, no matter how trivial or mundane it might seem on the surface. It’s not just some math problem, homework assignment, or that proposal you need have on your boss’ desk by 5:00 pm. Your investment makes things like school and work seem like you’re competing on a game show or playing your favorite sport. Fun and excitement is motivating and, by taking a more active approach behind performing these duties, you immerse yourself in the “game,” regardless if you’re aiming to land that multi-million dollar deal with a client, trying to escape-the-room in less than 60 minutes, or even coming up with a compelling inciting incident for your next award-winning screenplay.

After all, it’s your mentality behind it that matters.


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