John joined the coaching call eager to share his success. He recounted how he had applied his learning from our previous sessions and utilized critical thinking to analyze how to influence key stakeholders to buy into a solution.
I celebrated John's success and helped him unpack each step he took in developing the influence capital to achieve his objective. This prompted John to ask the question,
"How do I repeat this?"
The Greek Philosopher Aristotle taught that we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, he espoused, is not an act but a habit. In this post, we will explore the importance of critical thinking for success and how to strive for excellence by making it a habit.
Critical thinking is a cognitive process that involves careful analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of information to make reasoned judgments and decisions. Critical thinking is a Power Skill that is essential for the future of work. By leveraging critical thinking, we can model and repeat success by learning from past experiences and applying those insights to future situations.
Through coaching, John had become aware of the need to use critical thinking to deal with the sensitivity of stakeholders and to prepare the ground for his ideas and solution. In addition, John had become aware of his own mindset, behavior patterns, and history in approaching such situations.
If critical thinking is to become a habit, we must cultivate the practice of awareness, or forever be victims to our reactivity to situations. John and I explored how he might do this, and settled on a commitment to schedule time on a Sunday night to sit with an open notebook and pencil and become aware of the challenges and opportunities that would present themselves in the coming week.
Critical thinking helps you make well-informed decisions by considering all available information and analyzing potential outcomes. By evaluating problems and opportunities from multiple perspectives, critical thinkers can identify the root causes and develop effective solutions. This ability to solve problems efficiently and creatively is a key driver of success.
Having analyzed the situation, and its causes, we need to adapt ourselves to communicate our insights in the face of existing biases and paradigms. This is the Power Skill of self-leadership, the practice of intentionally influencing our thinking, feeling, and action toward our objectives (Bryant & Kazan 2012).
As we unpacked John's successful presentation to the board. He shared that he had visualized the answer to this question:
"What will I feel like when I have successfully achieved my objective?"
By making the shift from the person with a problem to a future self with a solution, John had adapted and this adaptation prepared him to present with confidence.
Critical thinkers are better equipped to adapt to new situations, as they continuously question assumptions and update their knowledge base. This adaptability is crucial in today's rapidly changing world.
To make critical thinking a habit, apply the insights gained from your past experiences to new challenges. Consider how the strategies that worked in previous situations can be adapted to address the current problem or goal. By doing so, you'll be better equipped to tackle new obstacles and achieve success consistently.
The world clearly needs more people to think critically about issues. Advocate for taking a pause and looking at challenges and opportunities from multiple perspectives, posing "What if?" questions. As you share your insights and collaborate with others, you will reinforce your own critical thinking.
Critical thinking is a powerful tool that can help you model and repeat success by learning from past experiences, adapting to new situations, and making well-informed decisions. By cultivating this skill, you will not only enhance your problem-solving abilities but also become a more adaptable, self-aware, and effective communicator. Ultimately, the mastery of critical thinking will pave the way for personal and professional success, allowing you to thrive in today's complex and ever-changing world.
BEING HUMAN WHILST DELIVERING ACCELERATED RESULTS