People love to criticize. It is easy to poke holes in other people’s ideas, to cast doubt on new concepts, or to point out the flaws in people, processes, and products. What is more challenging and ultimately more useful than simply identifying that something is broken is to produce creative ways to actually fix problems. This is critical thinking.
It is easy to mistake criticism for critical thinking. Criticism is lazy, easy, and while sometimes entertaining, rarely of much value. Critical thinking, by contrast, incorporates analysis, wisdom, and creativity in hopes of finding a better way. Criticism seeks to tear apart and tear down, while critical thinking strengthens and improves. Both start with identifying the problem, an important step, but that is where criticism stops. The value is in the solution.
Even more rare and valuable than critical thinking is the next step – doing something. By taking the initiative to actually do something you open yourself up to criticism, which sadly for most people is an insurmountable obstacle. Ignore the critics. Listen carefully to critical thinking, thoughtful feedback, and insightful ideas. Then, if you have the courage, do something about it.