How good are your critical thinking skills? Hands up if you find your shackles rising at headlines of inequity or brutality. Hands up if you rave about a good news story. Hands up if you have re-shared posts on social media within seconds of seeing them. My hand is up.
We’re Critical, but are we Thinking?
They call it the ‘Information Age’, but I think it is also the Age of Polarisation. With our fast pace of living, information overload from so many sources means that sometimes we don’t stop to think before scrolling to the next input. If something grabs us, we might take the moral high ground, but what are our morals?
Some of us talk about the importance of considered thought, tolerance, acceptance of difference, and equality for all. Yet many of us are still reactive – prizing emotion before understanding, and rewarding it in others with ‘likes’. Sadly, “shoot first, ask questions later!” is alive and kicking in social media, and we need to be careful to prevent it creeping into the workplace.
Do you pay for your news service? My husband likes the Sydney Morning Herald but he hasn’t subscribed to the online version. This means he can see all the headlines but can only access a few free articles each month. He has to be choosy about what he wants to read in depth.
In this Information Age we can’t read everything that passes in front of us, but we can choose to better understand that which we care about. We need to sort out what is relevant, and question ourselves – Could I be wrong? What is the opposite view? What are the nuances? Where is that information coming from?
On the 20th anniversary of NO WAR being painted in large red letters on the Opera House, it serves as a reminder that we need to be looking for answers by asking better questions, and seeking peaceful resolution over aggression. In the workplace this means understanding problems before we jump to solutions, seeking to understand other viewpoints, and checking our data sources.
How is your business recognising and encouraging critical thinking?