I’m looking forward to speaking at Farm Credit Council Services’ Forum for Ag Lending next week. My presentation is about how to apply critical thinking in your work. Richard Paul’s fun definition of critical thinking is “thinking about your thinking while you’re thinking in order to make your thinking better.” Critical thinkers gather and verify relevant facts, they try to free themselves from bias and assumptions, and think very intentionally about the problem they want to solve.
Consider the irony of addressing this topic at a time when so many of our leaders seem unconcerned about critical thinking. Many people in our society seem determined to not think critically about tough issues. Instead they’d rather separate themselves into different camps, sharpen their sound bite arrows, and shoot them at those who disagree. No one wants to take the risk of being fair minded and intellectually open to ideas, because if you listen to others and think critically, you just might have to change your mind sometimes.
But you know what, it’s OK to change your mind when you learn something new that shows you were wrong before. In that case, obstinately sticking with your old position is not loyalty it’s just pigheadedness or foolishness. If we would start to think and reason together, we might just start to solve some of our problems.