Critical thinking is a dying capacity. Yet it is crucially important for your business.
Simply defined, critical thinking is the capacity to examine and explore an idea from many perspectives, and, after this careful consideration, drawing a conclusion based on facts.
Wikipedia defines it as: purposeful reflective judgment concerning what to believe or what to do.
There are several key elements to this definition.
The first element is that critical thinking is purposeful. It is a behavior that is engaged in with intention, and which leads to some outcomes or understanding. It is not to be confused with analysis paralysis, where you keep thinking and thinking and never come to a conclusion.
The second element is that it is reflective. It is something you do inside yourself.
The third element is that it involves some decision process about what to believe or what to do.
Stated this way, it seems clear to me that critical thinking is an important component of business success.
So, if critical thinking is so important, why does it seem that not so many people are doing it?
I’ve been noticing, over the past few weeks, that many of my colleagues and some of my business acquaintances have been caught in what seem like endless loops of discussion, debate, and internal dialogue. They wonder, “should I build a membership site? or should I write an ebook?” “Do I put my prices on my website? Will that scare people off? “Do I write to my blog two times a week or three?”- and so on.
While all of these questions may be important, the difficulty with these questions is the answer to every question is both yes and no. There is no right answer.
Additionally, the answer to these questions are not outside the questioner. They are not answers that someone else can give them about how to run and grow their business. People sometimes ask questions that have no answer, and then spend a lot of time trying to find the answer to the question. This results in a lot of delayed activity and feelings of overwhelm.
At the heart of the questions, really, is a desire to have the best result for the least amount of effort. There is nothing inherently wrong about that, especially if a workable answer is easily forthcoming.
But when the answer is not easily obtainable, the answer is not to sit and wait.
The first step is to do some critical analysis of your options. Make a for/against list. Debate yourself on the pros and cons. Get some clarity on your own personal feelings of “why yes?” or “why no?”- put some facts to your feelings.
And then, when you’ve come up with a basic working plan, your next step is to take action- some action- in the direction that you think you might want to go. If you want to set up a membership site, start researching site options and pricing. If you want to write an ebook, jot down your outline. If you want to put prices on your website, go ahead- and see if this makes any difference one way or another. Try writing to your blog twice a week and then three times a week and see what feels better to you, and if the results differ.
In essence, what I’m suggesting is that you use your business as your own personal critical thinking laboratory. Press this button. Flip that lever. Do a crazy mad scientist kinda move. See what happens.
Our businesses want to evolve and grow, and the fastest way to do that is to have an idea, think about it long enough to define next steps, take action toward it, and then adjust course as needed.
Plus, that way is a lot more fun!