We’ve already advocated the DPA (direct positive action) approach to developing emotional resourcefulness – the idea that doing something is better than doing nothing. It’s the difference between motion and direction; in this instance ‘motion’ being the energy we expend worrying, feeling frustrated, feeling helpless or stuck etc. There is a distinction to be made, however, between doing anything and doing something that’s effective. In order to make decisions that are more likely to be helpful to us, we can call upon the range of thinking skills we have at our disposal. For convenience these are usually separated into the so-called critical kinds of thinking and the creative kinds (although in our opinion this is an artifi cial and simplistic distinction. Minds operate in an ‘all-at-once-together’ way such that logical reasoning supports and is supported by the fuzzier thinking we call intuition, hunches, gut feelings and so on.)
Critical thinking (critical in the sense of analytical) operates largely in a conscious way and includes the ability to sequence, predict, prioritise, attribute, classify, categorise and deconstruct. These modes of thinking are logical insofar as the outcomes are the result of chains of reasoning that are ‘out in the open’. The critical thinking agenda is (ideally) transparent to examination such that anyone can see how a conclusion has been fi gured out.