I don’t know about you, but have you ever been in a conversation or discussion and the other party utters a phrase, which shuts down your critical thinking on the topic? And, there’s no time such as now, to safeguard your critical thinking, with the flood of uncertainty, flooding every corner of the globe.

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Photo Credit: Charlotte Michelle

Well, I like to call those phrases ‘critical thinking hijackers.’ Because that’s exactly what they do. I will share with you one that recently hijacked my critical thinking and one that I am prone to use often to hijack others critical thinking — who says I am a saint?

And, I will briefly discuss the traps of Best Seller books, and how their authors are adept like how scholars do when hypothesizing, on that academic paper, to find facts that support the proposition they advocate. I will then conclude with a method, I have found to be helpful, and still ask that in no matter the discussion or decision making at stake, “always think for yourself.”

As a startup consultant, I have the opportunity to meet over coffee or drinks, with as many entrepreneurs, as my time can permit me. About 3 months ago, I was having drinks with a female entrepreneur, with a novel idea of running businesses’ social media platforms. So I asked her what’s her firm’s differentiating factor? She said, paraphrasing: “well, we are all ladies on my team, and you know there’s an academic research that says we ladies can manage social media platforms better than men because we are more empathetic, and you being a Nigerian, you know what I mean, the ladies are more attuned to being more caring and knowing what to say for comfort.”

You should see my face when I heard that. I was nodding my head, which is because of the phrase ‘’there’s an academic research that….” And, after that meeting, I met with another entrepreneur, and I regurgitated her lines, with more conviction than I heard it. But, that night, after archiving the key events of that day in my daily archive, my critical thinking came back to me, and asked me, “Really? Does that mean male nurses are less caring than female nurses? Do female waitress, make you enjoy the experience at your favorite restaurants better than the male waiters? And the questions poured”

You shouldn’t take the above paragraph to mean I question SDGs №5, Gender Equality. No far from it. After all, in the past 5 years, 80% of my professional superiors and mentors have been women. So I am all for Gender Equality.

To the second, critical thinking hijacker, which is my favorite. I usually find that when in a board or business meeting, and I notice that consensus is taking too long to reach. I observe that my means to marshal in a consensus is to pull from my repertoire of phrases the line “From my experience, I know….” But, these days I use that line carefully because I see that the landscape of the business world is rapidly changing and making extinct my experiences.

The next critical hijacker is the ones avid readers like myself are susceptible to, wisdom from Best Seller books. A case in point is Adam Grant’s evangelism to debunk the myth that “The stereotype that, to be a successful entrepreneur, to do anything original, you have to be a huge risk-taker.” And, he provides Warby Parker’s business case to support his assertion.

Yet, Robert Greene in his 33 Strategies of War proposes that the Death-Ground Strategy, where he asserts that to succeed, you need to create a sense of urgency and desperation, where your back is against the wall and you have to fight like hell to get out alive or succeed at your enterprise. He combs history’s and antiquity’s archive to back his assertion, from Sun Tzu and Thermopylae, of Greece to back up his assertion.

Beware of these 3 Critical Thinking Hijackers!

Allow me to add the caveat that you do not mistake the above two paragraphs to mean that both books are hogwash. Definitely no! They both contain invaluable nuggets for life, especially in these times.

Finally, to the method, I told you I find that works for me when making a decision is Ray Dalio’s Believability Model, where explains that when making a decision, it is best to believe people who have repeatedly accomplished the thing in question, who have at least three successes, and can explain their approach when probed.

But, in the present state of the world, where what was successful a year ago, has a 50% chance of working now. For today’s #MondayMotivation, is Ray Dalio’s advice “always think for yourself,” which cannot be overemphasized, and that way no one nor phrase will Hijack your critical thinking.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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