Critical Thinking – Learn How to Evaluate Your Ideas

10:22:00 PM

OK, so you were inspired and you managed to think of a dozen new and brilliant ideas on how to run your personal business, or how to deal with some situation that you are having, but you are unsure which one of these ideas is best for you. 

Maybe you got lucky and you embarked upon THE idea and you have absolutely no doubt in your mind that that the future is looking bright for you, but hey – how do you know your brilliant idea is feasible in real life? 

Or maybe someone, your employee or your best friend, has come to you with an idea of their own and is asking you for the opinion and advice. How will you be able to judge/estimate their idea? How will you develop the criteria for your critical thinking?

We all create ideas - some do it more easily than others, some more often than others - but we all get in the situation where we have to make choice between several ideas and options and then we get stuck because we do not know how to go round them and select the best.

Here are some issues that you should consider when selecting the idea that you want to put into practice.

Think of all the positive features of the idea
List all the benefits and values of the particular idea. What will be the positive effects of the idea for you, your business, personal relationships, income…? To what extent will it be able to solve someone’s problem? Will the idea make any improvement in the existing process, or design? No matter whether you are thinking about making a business decision or choosing a place to take your family on a weekend trip, always be aware of the practical and emotional benefits of your idea.  
What are the possible threats for the idea?
What are the things that might get in the way of realizing your idea? How difficult will it be to put it into practice? Is there enough money in the budget? Are there some legal issues that should be considered? Do you/your team have all the skills needed to make it? What will other stakeholders think of the idea/parts of the idea? You should in no way be negative and pessimistic about the idea - just keep cautious and challenge it with a clear mind.

How do you feel about the idea?
Does it stir butterflies in your stomach? Or do you have cold feet about it? Do you feel the incredible urge to do it right here, right now? Is there an inner voice that tells you: go for it!? If you are passionate about the idea, that means that you are half way into making it.
How will other people feel about the idea?
Will the other members of your team be as enthusiastic about the idea as you are? How will your customers/business partners feel about it? How will other members of your family feel about your fantastic plan for the upcoming weekend? Try for a moment to stand in other people’s shoes and think about the feelings and emotions that they might have about your idea.

How feasible is the idea?
Is it something that you can do right away – like going to a hair dresser’s and dying your hair pink, or is the idea more complex and needs to be further developed? Maybe you need some more time to polish it. Or maybe the idea is good but there are some obstacles that you should first overcome in order to implement it. Sometimes the idea can be too complex so you will need to break it into phases and take step-by-step actions in executing it. Maybe you should consult someone else about the idea just to check whether you are on the right track. Have patience and let your idea grow and mature. Many people give up good ideas just because they are not instantly executable. 

If at the end of the process of selection of the best idea you still feel that you do not have the right solution - do not be discouraged. Maybe it was not your day. Keep thinking and sooner or later you will hit upon a big idea!
I promise you will!!!   

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If you wish to further explore this topic, you can check out the selection of my favourite books about creative thinking.

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