Read a lot and read widely.

Exposing yourself to unique points of view is a good way to spark constant curiosity and to stay open-minded.

Well-read people understand that there are always multiple ways to look at a problem and multiple lenses with which to view the world.

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Don’t jump to conclusions.

A good critical thinker has built up the habit of not jumping to conclusions, especially in the absence of data.

They only make a judgment once they’ve studied a topic in some depth and can justify their position with sound reasoning. 

Create systems, not goals.

For example, creating a system; habit or ritual that promotes writing everyday is more effective than setting the goal of writing an essay a week.

  • A system can be measured, refined, and optimized. A goal cannot.
  • You can work on the inputs of your system to create better quality and quantity of outputs. A goal only focuses on the output.
Argue with yourself.
  • Great thinkers routinely and intelligently try to counter their own arguments.
  • They go back and forth until only the most rational and strongest argument exists based on the knowledge they have.
  • This is also the mission of any good scientist. The scientist tries to prove themselves wrong, not right. When they continually fail to do so, it’s very likely that only the truth remains.
Change your opinion.
  • Be unattached to information.
  • Have the willingness to change an opinion in the face of better data.
  • Writing is thinking. The better we get at writing, the better we get at thinking.
  • Writing also helps us separate what we actually know from what we think we know.
  • Writing is one of the ultimate meta-skills: a skill that allows you to develop other skills. Writing leads to better thinking, communication, reading, and researching skills.
Seek Adversity.
  • In adversity, you learn to create new rules and break old ones. You have to because it’s either do or die. 
  • The shift from a passive thinker to an active thinker is very subtle on the surface because it happens internally. It requires internal conviction: a strong belief in oneself. 
  • Most great women and men have gone through adversity. Why? Because adversity generates a lot of internal conviction. This internal conviction drives them, and constantly shifts them into active modes of thinking. Instead of living defensively, they attack life with ferocity. They know they will die one day, time is running out. They don’t know when that day will come so they attack life. They race against death because they have a purpose to fulfill.

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