I agree that Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are strong rivals and very different from each other, but if there is only one similarity between them it is the ability of critical thinking that have led them to build their fortunes. Simply told, they think differently from us.
Over all the years, I’ve been researching the backgrounds and studying the behaviors of both Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, and I’ve made a fascinating discovery. It’s clear that both men are smart — but they also have a certain motivation, a bizarre obsession with a desire to improve their products. And to do so, both men needed to discover a particular trait, and that’s the ability to critical thinking. You might have heard the word “critical thinking,” but actually what does it mean?
Critical thinking is a method of analytical and reflective thinking about a topic or concept. It requires the capacity to evaluate and assess evidence, to think carefully, and to make logical correlations.
But take a better look at the title of this term, and you’ll get another hint as to its definition: critical thinking.
The term “critical” can, of course, mean essential or crucial, but also can be related to criticism. In other words, we may assume that critical thinking is searching for something bad, anything that can be enhanced.
This is in line with what both Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have said in the past.
“I’m still looking at what’s incorrect,” Musk said in an interview. “In order to make [Teslas] perfect … I need to think quite critically. Therefore, whenever I see the car, I see all the problems that I feel need to be improved to make it better.”
Bezos shared a similar idea years earlier when he talked to Jason Fried, Chairman of Basecamp.
“[Bezos] noticed that the brightest minds are always updating their thinking, reassessing the issue they felt they had already fixed,” Fried said. “They are open to new points of view, fresh knowledge, new thoughts, inconsistencies and threats to their own mode of thinking.”
This is critical thinking at its finest: the opportunity to learn from opinions and ideas, even if they are in contrast to your very own.
Oh, how do you develop your critical thinking skills?
Here are five tips for this:
Don’t hurry up.
In technology, several businesses adhere to the ideology of “move quickly and smash stuff.” Yet this is the reverse of critical thinking.
Critical thinking requires flexibility, together with a sense of emotional intelligence — the capacity to consider and control the feelings.
The main objective: Don’t let shallow feelings seduce you to make irreversible decisions — decisions that you regret them later.
Pay attention to bad feedbacks.
Bad feedback is kind of like a newly found gem. It may not be appealing to the naked eye, but its worth becomes evident after grinding and polishing.
Likewise, whenever someone criticizes your performance, it doesn’t feel good at all. You ‘re going to be inclined to defend yourself or to close your mind.
Don’t do it. Rather, just give it a day or two. Allow your feelings to calm down, then ask yourself:
- What do I expect from this kind of criticism?
- Is there really any truth that I can derive from it?
- If not, what can I get from the viewpoint of the other person?
In this way, you turn criticism into an invaluable opportunity from a potential threat.
Schedule time to think about it.
Critical thinking is a challenging job. But, when it’s time to evaluate the facts, you’re going to schedule time in your calendar to indulge in deep thought.
Using any of these questions can help you evaluate:
- What are the assertions?
- What are the facts?
- What are the advantages? What are the disadvantages?
- What are the fundamental issues?
- What’s the biggest problem?
- What are the possible solutions to this problem?
- What’s the right answer for that?
There are moments when it’s necessary to work together, but it’s always easier to spend time alone, in a peaceful environment, without interruption. Here you can concentrate on investing in plain, centered, focused thought.
One drawback that manages to avoid critical thinking is to rely solely on the short term.
Alternatively, stand back and dream about the future. What are the implications of your decision(s)? What is going to be the result in a month? A year? 5 years?
This sort of “fast forward” thinking will help you see a larger picture and make appropriate decisions.
Let things calm down.
When you evaluate a complicated problem or attempt to make a tough decision, you will always profit from stepping back and letting all the details settle in your head.
You don’t want to escape the case, of course. Set a deadline for thinking things through. The time may change based on the severity of the condition; you can require a week, or maybe only a day or two.
The later it gets in the night, the more emotional and the less logical you become. So, if it’s too late, go to sleep and come back to your opinions in the morning.
You’d be shocked to see how much clarification you can gain after a full night’s rest.
If you run a small or a big business, and if you’re a businessman or a solo entrepreneur — or simply incorporate an entrepreneurial spirit — you’ll benefit from learning critical thinking.
It begins with recalling the five steps:
- Don’t hurry up.
- Pay attention to bad feedbacks.
- Schedule time to think about it.
- Fast forward.
- Let things calm down.
Learn to do this successfully, because you’re going to indulge in a kind of deep thought that can carry you and your job to the next stage.