In yesterday’s post I said that critical thinking is the platform that allows us to take facts and knowledge we learn, and transform them into breakthroughs, insights and innovation.
So how does that work?
I can only speak to what works for me. The critical elements are:
Always question the premise first. It’s amazing how often something is based on a flawed premise. And if the premise is wrong, everything that comes off it will be too.
Question the source. Anything the government, media or organized religion tells you comes from an ulterior motive. And so does everything your spouse, friends and kids do as well. This doesn’t mean you have to be cynical or throw out everything they say. It does mean you need to question if their own needs or confirmation bias is clouding what they are telling you.
Explore if you have come to an assumption based on logical thinking, or been clouded by emotion. We’re all human. We feel. And that’s a good thing. We need, learn, and grow from all the emotions, even ones like anger and sadness. But this only happens if you go up to 30,000 feet and study yourself from the outside. You have to become the “thinker of the thought” so you can objectively determine if something is in your highest good. Now once you are able to distinguish the difference, you can expect to hear from people that you are heartless and out of step with the times. That’s simply the new reality in our snarky, social media world. Which simply demonstrates the importance of the point to begin with.
Play the “what if” game. When you learn something, think laterally and creatively about it. What if there was no gravity, what if you manufactured it under water, what if it could be made with a different material, what if you sung it in Russian?
Project it out to its logical conclusion. If everything remains constant, what will happen in two weeks, two years, or two decades? Do the same thing with some changing variables.
What you’re doing with this process is simply yet quite profound. Because instead of viewing learning as the last step, you realize it is actually the first one!