What exactly is critical thinking? It’s when you’re able to change your mind when you get new information. That you’re willing to accept a different viewpoint than your own. Napoleon did not have critical thinking. In fact, he was the opposite. He would shoot the messenger if it went against his ideals or he simply didn’t like what they were telling him. So guess what? Messengers wouldn’t give him his messages, and ultimately he lost the battle.
You want to make sure that your business stays innovative, and that means change will be necessary. You want to ensure that you’re open to other points of view. If you don’t, you could miss out on valuable information that could help your business improve. To hone your critical thinking skills, here are a few ways things you can try.
Question Your Answers
Think about it for a minute. What are your beliefs and opinions? Be as broad as you can. Think of your views on social, political, and organization in your company. As you consider your views and beliefs, consider how informed you are about the issue. Assume there is a truth that perhaps you don’t know about. Maybe you don’t have all the facts to make a good assessment. If you don’t know the whole truth, your solution could impact people negatively.
When you can honestly assess how open your mind is and expose yourself to a discussion that might change your perspective, this is a good thing. Most of us have a hard time opening up to opposing views. It takes some humility and the desire to learn from someone else. The reason it can be so challenging is because we don’t like to reveal our limitations or lack of knowledge. Developing the ability to admit when you’re wrong and be open to a different idea is critical in critical thinking.
Seek Out Opposing Views
It’s one thing to own up to the fact that perhaps your view wasn’t the best one for a situation but there’s more you can do. If you want to hone your critical thinking, go out and look for opposing viewpoints. If you’re a business owner, it’s easy to fall into a box where nothing much comes in past what you already know. Often, people around you will express their opinions based on what they think you want to hear. They want to please you. Even in the general public, media is curated to make you look good if that’s the route you’re choosing to go down.
This can leave you in a place of utter ignorance so it’s pretty much up to you to seek out the truth. It’s not easy to do this, especially if what you believe is tied into your identity. This is the case for a lot of us and it’s a serious mental discomfort. Encountering information that is different from what we currently believe will cause an immediate pang. You’ll want to react without even listening to the opposing idea. You have to be very aware that this happens in you and take a breath to ensure that you don’t react. Instead, listen.
Something you can do is look inside to see what your main point of view is. Then try to find information that opposes your beliefs. This could be how you view your procedures in your business. Then check out other sources to see what they’re doing.
Be Aware of Feelings in the Moment
It is not easy to be open when dealing with viewpoints that differ from your own. This is a big reason to put your mindset into practice. When we are given information that is different from what we believe, we could become emotionally reactive. This gets in the way of understanding what the other person is trying to say.
It really does take a lot of conscious effort to understand a viewpoint that isn’t your own. Research has shown that when morally charged situations arise, humans are more likely to make a fast judgment based on emotion. It’s only after that when we justify how we came to evaluate the situation. This reaction happens under our awareness, like a knee jerk reaction. It leaves us to believe that the judgment or reaction we made was actually a rational choice. Remaining mindful in situations like this is key to changing how you react to things that don’t meet your ideals. Paying attention to how you feel is paramount.
Critical thinking is highly challenging, but most of the highly successful people in business have honed this craft. It allows you to make changes that come from others because let’s face it, you can’t know it all. If you’ve hired people that are experts in their field, you should listen to them when they have a good idea even if it totally out of alignment with your view.
If emotions arise, make sure to take a step back and take in a deep breath. If you give yourself a bit of space to consider the situation, you may be able to see how your way isn’t necessarily correct. You can acknowledge your own fallibility if confusion arises from the conversation. That is often a go-to when opposing ideas collide. If you can master the art of critical thinking, you can learn a lot and make changes that you yourself would not have thought about. It also gives people a reason to respect you. When you are a leader they can go to and be heard, no matter what their ideas are, this is an excellent benefit for your staff. You also get to hear all the great ideas that come from those with varied ideas.