Charismatic leaders are viewed as visionaries who create ideas and innovative products and services through pure imagination. However, there is something else going on in the minds of these leaders. They have a preternatural love for information and an uncanny way of fusing disparate ideas together. Through effective critical thinking, you can begin doing the same thing; creating great discoveries that are transformational.
Begin reading essays, articles, or books on subjects you normally would not read about to begin connecting seemingly unrelated ideas to enhance your critical thinking skills. After some time, you will establish a daily diet of information that leads to new and insightful ideas, connections, and trends. This is an example of using outside stimuli as a means to jumpstart your critical thinking.
Fall in Love with Information
Reading a magazine, newspaper, or periodical is fairly simple when you are interested in a wide array of subjects that allow you to understand human beings better. Get a magazine, a highlighter, and perhaps some paper or your journal. Then begin reading. Skim over the things that you may have a limited interest in and really read the stories that build on your focal point. Read everything. Read the articles AND any supplemental material. And while you are reading, ask yourself things like…
What does this remind me of?
Who was this article written for?
What did they do that I can do?
What does this say about the coming trends?
What gaps were left that my creativity can fill?
These certainly aren’t the only questions you can ask, but they are enough to get you started. You can go into this critical thinking process with a very specific challenge or problem in mind, or you can just do it to see what imaginative ideas you generate – either way is fine!
How to Build on Your Insights
Shakespeare reportedly said that he made new words out of old words. In other words, Shakespeare didn’t create a new language of sorts, but took what he observed in human nature and created a legacy of work behind it. What’s new about love, betrayal, and vengeance? If you’re looking to build a body of work through your critical thinking, nothing is out of bounds. If there is news of a man eating the face of a homeless man in Florida, become outraged at first by the barbarism of the act itself, but also become curious about what the act means as a message about the state of the world. Every act, news account, or latest fashion communicates a message about where people are or where they are going. As you begin seeing patterns, not only will you understand human nature better, but you can create products and services that solve problems created or perpetuated by human beings.
Charismatic leaders may do common things in an uncommon way and so can you. Start becoming your own social scientist by sharpening your critical thinking skills. You might just engineer the next breakout idea, service, or product that the world has been looking for, but didn’t know it.