Jumping to Conclusions


Critical-thinking

Just because you can, does it mean you should?

One of the benefits of engaging in conversation, ideation, and/or creation is the ability to explore an issue or a situation with one self, and/or with someone else. Exploring means keeping an open mind, being ready to see things you were not expecting, and to evaluate them on their own merits.

In fact, much of the skill of critical thinking is based upon your ability to suspend judgment while you evaluate information. It's something you can learn in school and train for at work.

Here are some examples of the value of critical thinking:

  • journalists and reporters covering an issue/event by requiring reality to explain itself, maintaining a skeptical posture while interviewing sources on both sides of the story and investigating data independently
  • researchers using scientific inquiry and being as objective as possible to reduce biased interpretations of results with the basic expectation to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists
  • innovators who help spearhead the thought process for doing something differently, or the useful application of new discoveries to existing processes
  • teachers facilitating the acquisition of knowledge, literacy, independent learning and thought process by mentoring, inspiring, and demonstrating 

I'm sure you have more examples of the value of such skill put to use. In all the years and experiences I've had, I never once was afraid of someone jumping out of a dark alley and saying something incredibly smart. In fact, most critical thinking happens below the surface, beyond the quick and fast reaction.

Jumping to conclusions would not be a way I'd choose to describe helpful or exploratory discourse. So many of today's technologies and tools are allowing people to do just that, and faster. Yet tools are just that, tools. Are live tweets a direct invitation to complacency, for example?

Not exactly. They are mere, albeit powerful, real time instruments in the hands of individuals. What those individuals do with them is still a choice — not all tweets are created equal. Because influence tends to be contextual, I also submit that it's not universal to all situations, nor absolute, as in granted for ever.

Yet, influence is often treated that way. Just because you can, it doesn't mean you should.

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0 responses to “Jumping to Conclusions”

  1. Exactly, but I think for the most part it is human nature to knee-jerk. And I think social media has given the knee-jerk a whole lot of room to move. That necessary isn’t good. One of my sayings as a PR professional is “when in doubt, keep your mouth shut.”

  2. Well yeah the temptation to jump to conclusions is common to loads of everyday situations, I think self-control is a quality one should master in any like of business, especially entrepreneurs or managers, which due to their position are particularly tempted to give their view on almost every topic they can get their hands on.

  3. I like jumping to conclusions and don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, so long as you don’t hang onto them to tightly.
    My life is what I call a “synaptic roller coaster of tangentiality.” I’m constantly jumping from one conclusion to the next, pouring myself into each in varying degrees of subscription. It goes up and down, and ’round and ’round.
    Circular. Feeling the flow. Be the ball, Danny.
    The way I see it, conclusions form a frame of reference different from that which existed moments prior. For me, these frames often surround windows with different views of the world. These conclusions result in learning experiences, which help me better define my core viewpoint.
    The trick is keeping an open mind, being self-aware, and remembering where home is. The urge to jump to a conclusion is a powerful thing. (Ir)rational fears dissolve and it’s easier to make the leap. There are benefits to this. I just gotta make 100% sure this is the new home base before I pour myself fully into a new conclusion.

  4. @Anne Marie – it sounds like good counsel.
    @Gabriele – and you see how far that has gotten us…
    @Anshul – as hard as I try to read between the lines of my own post, I don’t see reference to “being wrong”, or foregoing creativity, did I? Perhaps a premature judgment based upon assumptions?
    @Brian – so many conclusions arrived at prematurely become positions that are then used as weapons. Not knowing and unwillingness to admit it and explore make up ignorance, which to me is the scariest of propositions. Your comment seems to be contradicting itself, so I’m not sure of what you’re trying to convey.

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