Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a dramatic decline in the number of conversations that involve critical reasoning and independent thinking.

I’m very concerned by this trend.

One obvious place this has occurred is in American politics.

I have friends across the full spectrum of political beliefs.

I am shocked at how many debates devolve into arguments that involve barely any facts.

I’m surprised at how often somebody “hates” an idea based on who proposed the idea, as opposed to the idea itself.

I’m disappointed at how often discussions lead to arguments where the sole purpose is to “win” — as opposed to understanding the other person and learning something.

Even “bad” people can occasionally have a really good idea.

Most jobs these days fall into one of two categories. Jobs that involve doing and jobs that involve deciding. (And some jobs involve a mix of the two).

Jobs that involve blindly doing tasks that require little thought are either disappearing (because those kinds of jobs are easiest to automate) or pay less.

Jobs that involve thinking tend to be more complex, add more value, and pay more.

Thinking jobs tend to lead to “deciding” jobs.

Deciding jobs tend to involve managing other people and figuring out what they should be “doing.”

One way to become a better thinker, decider, manager, and leader is to embrace good ideas regardless of where and whom they come from.

When your mind is open to a wider range of ideas, such as possible solutions to a problem, you have more “ingredients” to work with when cooking up a better decision.

Next time you hear someone make a suggestion, discuss a thought, or propose an idea… listen to it. Consider it.

Form your perspective on the merits of what you’ve just heard; don’t be intellectually lazy and presume an answer before you actually think about it.


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