In his book, "Why We Believe What We Believe", author Andrew Newberg lists eight strategies that the CIA uses to teach its intelligence gathering anaylsts to think more wisely and open-mindedly. This allows them to analyze situations more critically and thus be able to construct more effective solutions to problems.
As much as I shy away from taking advice from our government I consider these strategies, which Newberg gleaned from a CIA handbook, ones that are beneficial for everyone to keep in mind as we navigate our way through everyday circumstances as well as try to make sense of some of the events in the world, both local and global. Some of the suggestions might seem like common sense while others might be new ideas to be considered for implementation. Some of the ideas listed seem to be very similar, yet if you read them closely, there are distinctions between them.
I hope you find them useful!
8 Strategies to Think More Critically
(1) Become proficient in developing alternative points of view.
(2) Do not assume that the other person will think or act like you.
(3) Think backward. Instead of thinking about what might happen, put yourself into the future and try to explain how a potential situation could have occurred.
(4) Imagine that the belief you are currently holding is wrong, and then develop a scenario to explain how that could be true. This helps you to see the limitations of your beliefs.
(5) Try out the other person's beliefs by actually acting out the role. This breaks you out of seeing the world through the habitual patters of your own beliefs.
(6) Play "devil's advocate" by taking the minority point of view. This helps you see how alternative assumptions make the world look different.
(7) Brainstorm. A quantity of ideas leads to quality because the first ones that come to mind are those that reflect old beliefs. New ideas help you to break free of emotional blocks and social norms.
(8) Interact with people of different backgrounds and beliefs.
From: "Why We Believe What We Believe", Andrew Newberg, p. 259
Which strategy do you find most useful? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks!