Are you a winner?
Why do some folks seem to win in life always and are better at everything they do? Does it seem unfair to you?
I use the terms “unfairly” on purpose. These folks that win consistently have the tools and resources to win, hence my use of the term “unfairly”.
Today, we are going to discuss how we can improve our critical thinking capabilities. Before I begin, please note that there is another blog and video on strategic thinking. We need to know that critical thinking is different from strategic thinking. To know more about what is strategic thinking, you can go to my the Win Unfairly YouTube channel here.
What is the difference between critical thinking and strategic thinking?
So first, what’s the difference between critical thinking and strategic thinking?
Critical thinking is the analysis and assessment of facts to make a decision or judgement. I would think of critical thinking as one of the toolsets required for strategic thinking.
In strategic thinking, you combine critical thinking skills and connect the past, present and future to predict the shape of the future for a super outcome for yourself or your business.
Don’t mix up strategic thinking, critical thinking and strategic planning!
Many folks often confuse strategic and or critical thinking with strategic planning. In strategic planning the future is anticipated, specific and predictable. In strategic thinking, only the SHAPE of the future is predictable. I am not going to dwell on strategic planning here. It could be a topic for another day.
Whether you are an individual, a small business or a large corporate employee, this short blog and video will guide you through and enable you to improve your critical thinking skills to win “unfairly” in life.
Who am I?
By now you might be wondering who am I. First a few words about myself – My name is John Lincoln and I am the author of a book called “Connect the dots” – a playbook to help you connect to your customers and profits. If you are interested, you can buy the book online at Amazon – here is the link to buy my book, “connect the dots” .
What are the top 10 skills and behaviors to apply to improve our critical thinking skills to win unfairly in life?
So we are back to the important topic of improving our critical thinking skills to win “unfairly” and succeed in life.
Please remember that critical thinking skills are a MUST to make the correct decisions and to have superb strategic thinking capabilities to win “unfairly” in life.
So here we go.
Here are the top 10 skills, behaviors and tools to apply to improve our critical thinking skills to win “unfairly” in life.
As I often say, these skills, behaviors and tools can be applied in your personal, professional and or business situations. Some of these might seem too basic or obvious to you. Despite it being obvious, many folks ignore these simple skills, traits and behaviors.
- Listen actively – We should listen more than we speak – Most of us don’t realize that listening is not the same as hearing. Listening gives us more information to assess and evaluate a situation better. Most of us don’t listen and tend to think about what we are going to say next. Remember that we have two ears and a mouth. So let’s just use a simple “rule of thumb” to listen 2 times more that we speak.
- Recognize that there is a problem – most folks often don’t recognize there is a problem or a set of problems. Some folks might realize it too late. Knowing and recognizing a problem might seem too basic for anyone to have. It’s not that obvious when we consider that business leaders, politicians and others on a high pedestal often don’t recognize the problem until it’s too late.
- Know how to prioritize the problems – most folks often try to solve all the problems together or don’t realize which problems need to be addressed or solved immediately. When we solve a problem, it’s important to know what the central issue is and to recognize the other significant factors that must be considered when solving a problem or a set of problems. Considering other significant factors is important but we should not take our eyes off the central issue.
- Ask basic and fundamental questions – we should not only listen but also ask questions – that is the right questions. Often, folks forget what questions they need to ask and stray off into stuff that is irrelevant or has no bearing to the original problem or the central issue that they are trying to solve. Asking basic questions helps us to root our thinking to solving a set of issues that are relevant and important.
- Know your mental process – We humans tend to use heuristics or mental short cuts to solve problems. Applying heuristics is only good up to a point. All of us have our own predispositions, biases and prejudices and therefore we should be keenly aware that we are innately biased. Our biases and prejudices often lead us to lose in a situation and or to make bad or suboptimal decisions.
- Think ahead (have foresight) – this literally means what it says – when we are forced to make a decision, we should proactively think ahead of the various scenarios, outcomes and what our end state would or should be.
- Think in reverse – thinking in reverse is an important brainstorming tool to enhance our critical thinking capabilities. This essentially means to know our end state goal or objective and work backwards to reach to the problem. This is one way to recheck of our assumptions and steps going forward based on a foresight view that we might have had.
- Reevaluate basic assumptions – normally, folks often assume that the basic assumptions are given. These basic assumptions are often biased or wishful thinking. Therefore force reality and rethink UNSTATED assumptions.
- Learn to interpret data and information – more often that not, there is more data and information than that meets the eye. We need to slice and dice the data and information in different ways to mine insights. When mining insights, we need to recognize the logical relationships and assumptions and learn to consciously ignore the illogical relationships.
- Put to test our beliefs – last but not least, we should always put to test our generalizations, conclusions and or beliefs. In other words, we should consciously NOT jump into conclusions.
Don’t jump to conclusions
So there you have it. Now go out there and polish up your critical thinking skills and be a winner.
As you can see from what you have seen and heard so far, there is more to coming to a decision or judgement that just jumping to conclusions. If want to succeed and win “unfairly” in life, we need to sharpen and hone our critical thinking skills.
Don’t take anything for granted and don’t jump to conclusions. As Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher said “it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”.
How we think matters and not every one has critical thinking skills!
Remember that the essence of our independent mind is not what we think but how we think. This important skill enables us to navigate the mass of data and information available to make the right decisions to win “unfairly” in life.
Further, don’t assume that everyone has critical thinking capabilities. It is a much rarer skill that you think it is! As Henry Ford famously said “thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”
Be a winner always
So don’t be defeated. Be a winner always. Go out and confidently win in any situation in life. Knowing how to improve your critical thinking skills will certainly give you a head start and put you in an “unfair” advantage.
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Giving you an unfair competitive advantage
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