Posts Tagged ‘ignorance

05
Nov
14

It’s not me; it’s you…or is it me???

Self Awareness 2Self-Awareness is a Paradox.  The more of it you have, the more you realize how little you actually possess. It’s like the guy who tried to be tactful by saying, “Somebody around here’s deodorant doesn’t work.” His friend turned to him and said, “It can’t be me; I don’t use any.”

We all love to imagine ourselves as incredibly self-aware, but when a story, a point, a sermon, or an illustration comes up we always assume that it’s our neighbor who desperately needs to hear it and not us. Our time is spent judging whether our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family members are blissfully unaware of their deficiencies or just too self-absorbed to notice.

Despite 61 percent of Americans acknowledging that a gap does exist between the skills Americans have and those employers seek, 95 percent consider themselves to be either qualified or overqualified for the positions they hold. With such a disparity, one has to ask themselves if they are ignorant or egotistical.

It’s in our nature to think of ourselves as much more than we are and to find fault in everyone else. To avoid this trap we must constantly ask, “What am I not aware of about myself?” In doing so we can cross the critical threshold from unconsciously incompetent to consciously incompetent.

Self-aware individuals speak with candor, admit their mistakes, thirst for constructive criticism, and exude a quiet confidence. They can stay true to themselves because they know who they are. They can keep their ego in check because they are acutely aware of their ignorance.  Power is not a motivator for them. Individuals lacking self-awareness constantly place blame on others, fault-find like it’s going out of style, and possess a firmly entrenched victim mentality. Their base camp is the Isle of Denial and they intend to stay there.

There are two proven ways to increase your self-awareness. First, spend time learning from others. Seek their council and input. Consider everything they say and do and how you can apply it to your life. Second, read personal-development books. How can we develop if we don’t read the manuals?  Life’s too short to make all the mistakes there are to be made, so save yourself some time and heartache and read….and never stop. As Gandhi said, “Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.”

16
Apr
14

We all have a brain, but do we have the mind to use it?

83238_f520We may tout ourselves as the most technologically advanced, sentient beings in the history of mankind, but do we really use our minds when it comes to researching facts, formulating opinions, or even challenging our own previously held convictions?  In the modern world, opinions trump facts, disagreeing or debating has been ditched for demonizing, and civil discourse has become very uncivil indeed.  Ignoble ignoramuses repeat their talking points ad nauseum, to hell with the facts or consideration of someone else’s personal, religious, or even cultural convictions.

 

And because we believe that modern man is so technologically brilliant, we allow anything from any source to infiltrate our brains, without so much as a moment of pause for consideration. If we read it or hear it, we blindly support it, deny it, or obsessively regurgitate it. Facts used to mean something; not anymore. Anyone anywhere can create a platform to blast out their views regardless of the truth or the author’s motives. Words attached to a graphic meme have now become the gospel, and celebrities have replaced subject-matter experts. Swiping an electronic screen has replaced diligent research and trolling/name calling has replaced debating your point. Actions are represented either positively or negatively depending upon the reporter’s personal views. We are no longer a planet of independent thinkers but rather drones who are told—and who accept—who is right and who is wrong.

 

Remember when you were growing up and you were told not to believe everything you read or hear, and never to assume because it makes an ASS out of U and ME? Critical, pragmatic, and contrarian thinking has gone the way of the dinosaur. I am mortified by the things that are posted on social media or blogs and then endorsed by people who assume they are true simply because they saw them somewhere. Trust, but verify has been replaced by Trust, then vilify. After all, if I am offended by a viewpoint that does not align with my own regurgitation, it must be condemned!

 

The Foundation for Critical Thinking defines critical thinking as “…actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication…” The key words here are right at the very beginning: actively and skillfully. This implies that we make a conscious effort to understand and evaluate, and that we practice it habitually; but instead of honing our discernment, too many of us have settled for spoon-feeding. How can we all be better critical thinkers and begin to stem the tide of intellectual apathy?

  1. Consider the source: Are you reading the Washington Times or the National Enquirer? Where do the stories that get passed around on the Internet come from? Why is an expert qualified to speak in his or her area of expertise? It’s imperative to think carefully about the source of your information. If there is no basis for credibility, ignore it. We hear a lot about the difficulty of finding unbiased news. The truth of the matter is that it’s very difficult to report the news in a completely unbiased fashion. That’s where critical thinking comes in.
  2. Think about the issue: Never believe a word you hear or read without doing your homework. We can defeat the repetition of falsehoods by gathering information from several sources, thinking about it from a multitude of angles, and synthesizing it into a unified whole. Hopefully, you’ve surrounded yourself with people whom you consider to be smart and rational, the ones who can distill the hype down to the real meat of the issue. Ask them to synthesize the points being discussed as an objective frame of reference. And then carefully take a look at them to see if they make sense to you!
  3. Draw Your Conclusions: It may seem like it goes without saying, but we really do need to put all of the pieces together and form a conclusion about the topic at hand. Too many of us allow our threads of thought to trail off without tying them up. Discipline yourself to form cohesive and well-thought-out conclusions about the important topics of the day based upon careful gathering and analysis of credible sources of information. And never forget that your conclusion must be congruent with your core set of values and convictions, otherwise you’ll be a double-minded man, unsteady in all his ways, and speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

 

All of which leads us to the simple but profound question: What do you think? If you rigorously follow these guidelines you’ll be surprised at how rapidly you will improve your understanding of important issues, along with your ability to really discuss them—not just state your position—spontaneously and with authority. And remember, once you rise to a higher level of thinking, you will definitely stand out from the masses. This can make you a target for imbeciles. Don’t indulge them in arguments. As the good book says, When arguing with fools, don’t answer their foolish arguments, or you will become as foolish as they are. (Proverbs 26:4)Think critically! Each of us has a brain; we just need the mind to use it.




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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