The benefit of applying critical thinking methodology to all aspects of life is that you are rarely surprised, and when you are, you can more easily adapt. But the hard part is that, at first, you will be nearly universally scorned by those who either can’t or won’t think critically.
Those that listened heard me correctly on my Art of Manliness podcast interview, that you have to very carefully tread the waters by slowly helping your boss come to the realization that asking for evidence is really important. Most leaders think that they got to their jobs by going with their gut. And some did through incredible thin slicing skills. But most of the knowledge and skills which helped someone shine at lower management aren’t the same skills that help them through much broader, more complex problems.
Study after study shows that intelligence is not correlated with critical thinking. So you’ll have to learn to politely say that you’re not questioning anyone’s smarts, but are only wanting to help them apply those smarts more effectively to the task at hand. When you hear someone ask if you think you’re better than them, politely raise your hands and say “no way…I needed help learning to think just to make it here.” Eventually you’ll be helping them.
It is very difficult to learn to subordinate emotion to your rational and logical mind. Yet, the most successful bosses of companies are those who say the three hardest words: “I don’t know” and they are the same ones who ask:”How do we know that? Show me the evidence. If that’s true, what should we expect to see.”
Applying this in family life will also be difficult…at first. Your family members are generally so used to making decisions on emotion and gut feel, that when you try to insert a deliberate process of logical reasoning, they’ll get on you about it. But slowly and very surely, you’ll start to notice that your family members will begin using that very same thought process themselves. If you’re smart, you won’t say anything about it and will just be happy that they’re doing it.
That is how you become successful and make a name for yourself. People want to be associated with someone who can keep his or her head when everyone else is frantically running around waving their hands in the air. By quietly practicing critical thinking, and patiently teaching those around you, your organization will shine because everyone will be doing better.