The importance of information cannot be underestimated. Without information, we are not able to live properly in this modern era. The importance of information is in the ability to critically think and apply it. It is the key to understand and to apply knowledge.
It is often difficult to know what is important and what is not. It is so easy to follow the crowd, to say the right things, the smart people, without paying attention to what is actually important in your life. The famous American writer Mark Twain said, “I always do things the way I feel like doing them. That’s the way I want to live my life.” That means you already have information about something or someone. Perhaps he knew something about the company that business had too many accounting irregularities.
How would you know what to do? How would you know if what you were reading or hearing was the truth? How would you know that the information is trustworthy? How can you be sure that the information you are getting is relevant? How do you know the rest of the story?
We do not all have the same information. What you know may not be relevant to someone else. But even if you have different sets of information, both of which are important, only one critical thinking tool will tell you whether the information is trustworthy. You need the ability to compare and contrast information from different sources. You need to use critical thinking skills.
As you accumulate information, you begin to see patterns emerge. Patterns form in all kinds of fields but in business, the industries that lend themselves most often to critical thinking include: sports, politics, medicine, technology, law, health care, and nonprofit organizations. If you want to know what something is worth considering, ask yourself, is this a case where I would take a risk by speaking out about this information? Is this information changing my behavior?
The most useful way to learn and grow as a professional is to constantly be critical of the information you absorb, of those who convey it to you, and of those whom you work with. If you don’t know what is real and what is not, you cannot make sound decisions. Critical thinking is the foundation of intelligent decision making and successful business.
You should use your critical thinking skills at every opportunity to gain new information, even when you think it sounds silly or irrelevant. It is pointless to ignore facts and ignore data. In business, you should seek out the best information and make sure others know it. Learn to filter out what is relevant and take what is significant. When you communicate and interact with others, especially with bosses and clients, make sure that you are clear on what is expected of you and what is optional.
When it comes to using information in your business, remember that no piece of information is worthless. Some information is necessary. Remember that you cannot separate knowledge from data or fact from fiction. When you encounter information that seems to be inconsistent with your prior beliefs, use your critical thinking skills to investigate the information further. Only then will you be able to make an informed decision.