Critical thinking is an essential skill for anyone wanting to be the leader in their own life and beyond. The number one skill that you need to become a critical thinker is thinking. I know that this sounds obvious but with constant information at our fingertips, is it?
When was the last time you sat down and just had an hour-long thinking session where you walked through a problem from start to finish? We have begun to outsource our thinking due to the overload of information and distraction that is available at your fingertips. We have lost the skill of evaluating information in a critical way and forming our own opinion.
Strategic contemplation is the technique that I use on a regular basis to work through information. This contemplation allows for seeing situations from different perspectives that allows for forming perception. The process of thinking through a problem or situation from start to finish allows you to see gaps in knowledge or obstacles that will need to be avoided. The time you spend in deep thought can allow you to see solutions where other’s may not. Challenges can be solved sometimes by the most surprising of people, you!
Strategic contemplation is defined as looking thoughtfully for a long time to identify long term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.
I challenge you to begin to develop the practice of strategic contemplation daily. Just say no to the distractions! Turn them off and just hear your own thoughts. Take a walk, do the dishes, or mow the lawn while in deep concentration on a problem or situation. Allow yourself to consider the issue from multiple perspectives and with different options. Look for gaps in knowledge or resources that you may need to understand and overcome the challenge. Listen for your own opinion on the issue.
Remember that your perception informs the way that you evaluate information. The ability to evaluate information from multiple perspectives with a neutral lens allows you to find solutions that others will not. This is the foundation for critical thinking in leadership
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