X marks the spot


03 April, 2016

Critical Thought (1/30)

This isn't just for University Graduates. This is for you, your friends and your family.

Nowadays, I tend to critically think naturally and far too often. It has made for a pleasant life but not an overly exciting one. However, as a teenager and in my twenties I didn't critically think and my life was far too exciting. Today, I am happier.

I believe that we do need to critically think to ensure our choices, over time, allow us to lead the life we want to live.

Day to day, most people do not think critically. Choices are made, options are taken and opinions are asked for. This is good, it means you get on well with people and you are getting on with enjoying your life. Critical thinking means pausing for thought. It means listening closely to yourself. It means seeking out information that isn't just given to you. It basically means, taking control of your own choices.

Perhaps a small example will help. Recently, a colleague showed me his new watch. I looked at my watch and liked his better. I could have just bought a new watch, one I liked as much as his. In actual fact, that is what I did. However, I did spend / invest a considerable amount of time acquiring a new watch. Actually, I bought two. Critical thinking allowed me to buy the right watch(es) for me.

So, I wanted a nice watch. The idea is to buy a watch, the right watch, that will serve me for many years. Such that I get full value for the time I spent earning the money to buy the watch. Not have a watch buying competition where I keep buying a slightly more expensive watch every time I can afford one.

So, I thought about a Rolex. Surely, the most famous watch brand in the world. Nobody can beat a Rolex? Actually, lots of companies produce more expensive watches than Rolex. Mostly ones I can't pronounce or even spell correctly. So, buying a Rolex does not guarantee a colleague won't top it. Critically thinking about what I wanted saved me several thousand pounds. I thought I wanted a watch that everyone would envy. Critical thinking made me realise that I wanted a nice watch. A watch that I thought was nice. A watch that I could wear that meant something to me. Other people's opinions are welcomed but they wouldn't be able to detract anything from the pleasure wearing it gave me.

I now am quite knowledgeable about watches. I know why I wear the watch currently on my wrist, it wasn't about money and prestige but it was about what I actually wanted rather than what I thought I wanted. Critically thinking has allowed me to spend my money and time to its best advantage.

Without critical thought I may have bought a fake Rolex. Very quickly realised that was a mistake and then bought something else. Within weeks scratched the glass, replaced the glass, scratched it again, then found out about sapphire crystal and bought another watch. And so on until I never wore a watch again or I had an actual real problem and wish I hadn't wasted so much money on watches.

That is basically what critical thinking is. You become an expert in yourself. You become very knowledgeable in the things that interest you. You invest your money and time more wisely. Leaving you more money and time to spend doing whatever you choose to.

Hopefully, you know that you make lots of poor decisions or that you would like to make great decisions more often. A reasonable excuse is that you haven't sufficient time or money and that you have no control over the future. You are quite correct.

Over time, critical thinking, will give you more time, more money and more control over your future.

Critical thinking helps with any decision, large or small. It helps you do your job. It helps save you money. However, it isn't easy. It is time consuming. The pay offs do accumulate over time, leading towards the life you want rather than the one you keep living.

So readers, how can I help you?
I would have thought more examples?
Perhaps, a brief write up of my recent watch buying saga?
Perhaps you have a question?

I shall make the effort to write something each week for you to consider over the weekend