Think About It

Have you ever begun to do something when your head just was not in the right place?

When I try to work on something, and my head is not on point, I can make a real mess out of things.

I believe that to find our path forward in life and earn the employment we desire is one of the biggest tasks we will ever encounter.

If we take this task seriously, we have a world to gain. If taken lightly, the world is ours to lose.

I am proposing that people start down the road to new employment with cleared heads and a correct set of ideas to help them understand where they want to go and what tools could help them.

 A clearer and more robust head could save a mountain of grief as you ascend the possible wrong paths in life.

Do you think with a critical thought? 

Think Critical

I am now in the build of my next course. What would you like to see in my next course about finding employment?

The course is on using critical thinking in your employment search.

Do you like working with critical thinking? And would you like to strengthen those brain cells?

I want to use my blog to train on the fundamentals of critical thinking. These blogs are free.

I will take one idea day and give it to you to consider. The next day I will discuss some of the possibilities of that idea in the blog.

If you like the idea of playing with some critical thinking exercises, tell me if this is for you.

For today I have one question for you to ponder. Why is critical thinking talked about and desired amongst employers who are hiring?

Why Hire Humans?

Today, almost everything is becoming automated. Today, doctors are teaching robots now to become doctors. Many planes fly on autopilot, with the pilot sitting there just in case something goes wrong. And, our goals in business are not to manage people. We manage systems and processes.

The one thing that automation has over people is that it will do the same job,  the same way every time. No deviation and no thought are needed. Suppose you have a process that’s absolutely perfect whether it is building a car, building computer boards, doing an operation, or flying a plane or drone. In that case, automation has or is going to be taking a large chunk of the workload.

Yet don’t count humans out.  Humans have one thing that machines don’t. Humans can think. And critical thinking is one of the most important things that employers need. Not every situation is exactly like every other situation. Deviations caused by outside forces call for an understanding and rethinking of solutions required in certain conditions.

Employers know this, so when you go for an interview, ‘what if’ or ‘how do you’ questions will be more prevalent. You need to be ready for them and explain the steps you’re taking in the answer. Your interviewers are looking for somebody who will take a look at what the solution does when used.

How are you at critical thinking?  

Depends

I remember when I was a child, there was good and bad, right and wrong, and decisions did not take long at all. Usually, I was always wrong. There appeared to be more clarity about life. And everyone seemed to have an opinion.

It makes me wonder if, back then, the correct decisions were always right. Or did choices boil down to a set of circumstances, or made up rules rather than the facts? I am not sure. What I do know is that in today’s world, it is hard to make a decision, and there is the consideration of many factors.

I am not saying that one era is right, and another period is wrong. I am trying to question how decisions happen. And why if they were made so fast in the past, do they take so much time now?

When we were young, four, or five, or six, we followed what our families and elders told us, and there was no questioning. Today I question everything, and I do not know why, yet today it appears that everything takes time. And maybe it should because everything does depend.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Why Look for Outside Problems

I find it interesting that when something goes wrong, we tend to blame something familiar to us. We often do this instead of trying to figure out the truth of what is going on. Our actions often cause us to miss the real culprit and waste time blaming the wrong machine or person for the problem.

We must remember that just because something gives us grief in one area, it may not be responsible for all negative activities. After all, even a broken watch is correct twice a day (if it is analog). Sometimes we need to apply critical thinking and figure out what is going on.

I had this type of problem confront me yesterday when the phone, who’s batteries have been dying, started giving us fits and not working correctly. The phone was dropping out about a third of the words when people called. We had little signal strength, and we could not even call our voicemail. It was the phone, on its last legs.

My sister-in-law called to wish me a happy birthday and talked about the phone and the hard time hearing us. My wife said it was the phone’s fault and I need to get a new one. Her sister agreed with her, and even when I was talking on my cell phone, the problem persisted. I was sure that that was not normal, two separate systems having the same issues. My brother called to wish me a happy birthday, and he had the same problems. And even when my son called, the signal was still mediocre at best.

As I got ready for bed, I was talking with my Alexa, and she was having problems playing music and just thinking. During the night she showed a red ring several times. At this point, all of my electronics are having a problem. Now I know something is off-kilter.

One of the first things I did this morning was to call my phone carrier. Calling the phone carrier is fun, especially when the electronics are having problems to start. I finally connected with them and talked with a knowledgeable technician who, after looking everything over and talking to me, let me know that there had been an outage in my area that had been going on for over 23 hours. The blackout would go until this evening, and they would let me know when they fixed the problem. They believe that the difficulties I experienced happened because of the outage. After talking to the technician, I think that also.

 We should always verify first before we start blaming and pointing fingers. It’s true with people, and it’s also true, with machinery. There’s nothing we could have done differently because of the outage. It is just nice to know we don’t have to pick on the poor phone.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Thinking Critically

Thinking Critically

There is a trick to life. The idea is it’s easier to prevent trouble, then have to explain it, fix it, and make up for it afterward. I’m going to try to keep away from quoting some corny things like an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Instead, we will talk about something that everyone can learn and do.

As you learn something, you start to learn the problems and preventions which will go on around it. We call this common sense. Because common sense is in such a small supply these days, we also have a fancier word for it, critical thinking. If you work on something for two years, you start to grow a natural form of critical thinking for the things with which you are working.

Eighty percent of four-year college graduates do not work in their major studies. Yet, many jobs demand a bachelors degree. This is because these graduates have spent four years learning and understanding critical thinking. The fact that they graduated proves they have a good handle on the concept.

As a line supervisor in contract manufacturing, I didn’t have a bachelors degree, I had over 20+ Years in the Air Force and an Associates in Applied Science degree in electronic systems technology. One thing for sure, I understood and used applied critical thinking principles. I could not have done the job without those principles.

Whatever you use as your guiding rules, you need to have significant respect for critical thinking. Everything that is handed to you needs to be looked over. You need to know what skills are required to complete the task, what time is involved, and are the people working on it skilled enough to accomplish the work properly? You need to sit down and figure out exactly what could go wrong, and what safety precautions should you put in place to prevent errors.

If you take the time upfront, you do not have to spend extra time on the backend of the project trying to figure out what went wrong. Additional time will not have to be paid for reworking errors. You won’t stand in fear of losing a customer over poor workmanship. You will be able to move onto the next project, and both you and your team will be viewed as people who get things done correctly.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Afterward

The last few years I’ve written about many things. Some things that are easy and will take a few minutes, such as drinking water to stay hydrated. Some suggestions, such as mapping your future, could take years or more to see the fruit of your labors. And sometimes I know that we all ask a similar question along the way, “why am I doing this?”

It reminds me of an old saying about alligators and swamp water. And the real understanding of what you did and why is rarely appreciated until you are at a point where you can turn around and look at what you have done. Until that point, you had an idea, a vision of what your actions would accomplish, and how it would help you in the long run.

I am not good at cleaning. I can hide things and mask odors, and I am noted for the idea of sweeping things under the rug. Being tired of this, and wanting the place to look better, I hired a team to come in for a day and help us out. They spent four hours with us cleaning everything from the walls to the most minute details such as the crumbs at the bottom of the toaster oven. And in those four hours, they worked a miracle to put the house back to where it belonged.

Before they came, I question myself on why I was bringing them in. I ran over the positives and negatives in my head and was genuinely unsure about what the results might look like. When all was completed, it looked as though my old house was taken away and a brand new look-alike was brought in to replace it. Everything was better than clean and had a pleasant smell that reminded me of my mom’s house.

All I can tell you is to put your critical thinking skills to work. Instead of fearing the unknown or the yet to be seen, add up the pros and cons. Never use fear or blind trust because neither is totally correct. Figure out what you really need and look for a solution you can accept. Then move forward.

One more critical tip. When you bring in the pros, make sure they have what they need, including the information that you need to get them. Be kind to them and thank them for helping you, then get out of their way and let them do their best.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

The Tone in Our Tune

America’s always had a propensity towards violence. I believe it is a byproduct of how we came into being as a nation. We fought for our independence, and then we fought our way across the continent, from east to west, in the move to carve out this great nation. With little regret or remorse, we did what we had to do to make it happen.

In our youth, passions run high. We work towards the change we seek with the belief that nothing can stand in our way. As we age, we hopefully become wiser. With age comes critical thinking and the ability to look past the moment and understand the longer-term outcome of actions. And probably, we pass this ability on to our young.

When our rhetoric as a nation grows in passion without giving understanding to critical thinking and long-term effects, we find ourselves having problems as a community. We need to stop for a moment and consider what we are doing, and the outcome our actions could cause. Are we considering what we say? And, does what we say lead others to a favorable long-term result?

We do not have to live in a pressure cooker of violence. We can turn down the steam. All we need do is turn ourselves away from the heated rhetoric. It does not take everybody doing it at once, at the same time; it only takes one or two people to start. The first time you change the rhetoric from hot to cool you may not get a positive reaction. Yet the harder the response, the better the indication you’re on the right track. Maintain your Calmness and others will pick up the change in direction. As more people turn from heated rhetoric to calming clear thinking, the pressure cooker will lose steam, and worst destruction can be averted.

Think of this the next time you’re about to produce a wisecrack or a belittlement. There is always somebody watching and somebody listening no matter how private a moment you think you have. You hold the ratchet in your hand. Are you going to ratchet up or ratchet down the rhetoric?

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.