Image

The Swiss Army Knife for Critical Thinking

The late Tony Buzan called mind maps the Swiss Army knife for your brain

Mind maps turn ideas and thinking into a colorful diagram. It is a way to transfer your thoughts to paper (or your screen) and then imprint it more visually and permanently to your memory. 

You can use mind mapping for organizing, presenting, explaining, planning, learning, negotiating, taking notes, and making notes.

All you need is a piece of paper turned horizontally and some pens or pencils, preferably, but not required, in several colors. The different colors make the process more fun and the resulting drawing more memorable.

How to Improve Your Critical Thinking

Improve your critical and creative thinking using mind maps

Slow down your thought process a bit by creating clarity instead of speed.  Analyze options including pros and cons.  View and share the options considered.  Explore alternatives on paper or your computer screen in one visual that you add to, change, cross out as you go.  Mind maps are easy to follow, easy to review, and easy to use as an explanation.  

The Power of a Sincere Question

The power of a sincere question

Questions are a sign of intelligence and also of interest, curiosity , and caring about the other person and topic. So don’t hold back.

Then listen to the answers, listen intently, listen to understand, listen for the meaning. Be careful that your questions are sincere rather than a way for you to introduce what you have to say. As Stephen Covey said, “seek to understand before seeking to be understood.”

Anxiety is not Intuition

Anxiety is not intuition. Worry doesn’t make you more productive.

Planning for how you will handle situations gets you ready for whatever will come. Worrying only focuses on what might or might not happen if you don’t plan.

Take out a plain piece of paper and a marker or pencil. In the center write your goal or problem to solve. Circle it. Draw branches out from the circle, each with a topic to think through. Make extra notes using smaller branches for each of the topics. Only use single words or short phrases.

What you drew is a mind map. The process you went though on paper helps your brain explore and investigate ideas such as how to solve a particular problem. Try mind mapping the next time you are grappling with a problem.

This is my TedX talk about mind mapping with nearly a million views:

https://youtu.be/5nTuScU70As

What Life Learning Can You Share?

Share something you have learned in your life as a gift of curiosity and knowledge.

It will be a gift to yourself at the same time as to the other person.

When you share a lesson you learned, and this can be a practical,

how-to-do or something you realized not to do, they learn from your experience.

At the same time time, your learning gets deeper as you figure out how to explain and create understanding without the direct experience.

This not about ‘shoulds’, as you tell the story about how you learned. Bring the other person into your thought process, your curiosity, your hard lesson, if necessary. Let them visualize what it would have been like if they were there with you or instead of you.

Stories are memorable. Stories give the listener the chance to decide.

Your Needs and Wants

What is the difference between Needs and Wants?

We all mix them up. Imagine for a moment you’re looking to buy a new car. What do you need? Something reliable, decent gas mileage, seats one, or maybe 4, what else? Do you need it to have fast acceleration? Do you need it to be a color you like, maybe even bright red? Do you need a snazzy convertible that makes you feel on top of the world?

So wants and needs get mixed up in our head.

A need is something that must be fixed, a problem that requires solving, a pain that requires fixing.

Wants are desires, preferences, attractions.

And if you can satisfy both your wants and needs at the same time, do it, and be aware of the difference and the double win.

Leaders keep their eyes on their vision, strategy, and mission

Your vision, mission, and strategy

Vision is the big, long term goal for an individual or an organization.  Strategy is the “How.”  How will you achieve the vision or at least keep moving solidly towards it.  Mission describes the daily processes and behaviors that focus on the vision and apply the strategy.

TEDxNaperville November 9

I will be there coaching anyone interested in learning how to use mind mapping to take notes during the TED talks so that you remember what you want to remember.

Women need to understand what they are doing that undermines their authority

Women need to change what they are doing that undermines their authority

It is not just the power stance, though that is a good way to stand when talking to others at work.

Stand up when someone comes into your office.  It serves 2 purposes.  First it will keep the other person from acting like you have all the time in the world to listen to them.  Second, they are not looking down at you.

Train yourself not to end your statements as a question.  There are two ways women do this that undermines their authority.  First they end with OK? or right? or some time of question that means you are asking if what you said is ok with them.  Second, even if you don’t make it an obvious question, you use the question tone of voice at the end of you sentence.  You might want to record yourself and listen.

Back to the power stance, feet separated about a foot or foot and a half, facing the other person directly.  Don’t cross your legs or lean on anything.  Look directly at them.  Make eye contact.

BTW, this is true for men, too.  It just is observed more often in women.

Critical Thinking & Emotional Intelligence

Critical Thinking and Emotional Intelligence

I just read that these 2 skills are in short supply.  I teach both of them online.  The great thing about taking a course in one of those subjects with others, most of whom you are meeting for the first time, is that alternate viewpoints are a big part of both subjects.  Being part of a group and hearing from people with very different backgrounds allows you to open your thinking and ask open questions, both of which can improve your critical thinking and emotional intelligence.