In government, officials call their place of urgency the Situation Room. Companies have conference rooms, board rooms and war rooms. Families gather at the dining room or kitchen table. These are the places where people assemble to address time-sensitive, critical situations.
Critical situations demand critical thinking. Critical thinking may be best understood as efficient judgment that helps determine what must be done to systematically help reach a certain goal. One must have the ability of common sense critical thinking in order to resolve crucial happenings.
There is an art to critical thinking when your back is against the wall.
An ancient story gives some helpful tips in critical thinking. The account begins with two kingdoms, Judah and Babylon. Due to some unfortunate shortcomings, Babylon seized Judah, taking treasures from captured Jerusalem to the land of Shinar. The victorious Babylonian king also brought some of Jerusalem’s top-notch people with him. The select ones appeared well-favored and skillful in all wisdom, discernment and understanding, apt in learning knowledge, competent to stand and serve in the king’s palace. A chief officer was given three years to educate and nourish them in preparation of serving the Babylonian king.
Their names and lives were drastically changed with this incident. Four young men, in particular, wanted to maintain a steady heart without defiling themselves with the king’s dainty food and wine. One of the four young men, Daniel was given favor, compassion and loving-kindness with the chief officer, asking for vegetables and water as an alternative to keep a strong mind and body while preparing for the king. The chief officer, however, was afraid that the change would render negative results and cause the king to have his head. Daniel was determined to find a solution. So he compromised with the steward who was directly in charge of them, asking for ten days of the substitute meal plan for the four young men. If the alternative made them appear stronger and better than the others, they could keep the revised diet. An unsuccessful ten-day arrangement would mean returning to the king’s prescribed plan.
The steward agreed to Daniel’s request, noticing that the four youth looked more promising than the other noble ones being groomed and prepared for the Babylonian king. They maintained the rearrangement for the duration of their training, eventually coming before the king for thorough and final evaluation. The results were astounding. Daniel and the three other young men were ten times better than all of the learned professionals in the kingdom, giving them high-ranking recognition and positions.
This historical narrative provides several important steps in critical thinking.
First, you must be prepared for crisis before they occur. Somewhere in life there tends to be a serious matter that must be dealt with. It is not a matter of if something vital will happen, but when something significant will happen that requires your devoted attention. Like these chosen ones who were caught in terrifying circumstances, it may serve purpose to be well in your appearance, favor and skill prior to the rise of urgent affairs. Having wisdom, discernment, understanding, and apt in learning shows in advance that you are competent to stand and serve in the best and worst of times.
Second, have a standard that keeps your integrity and accountability to self and others intact. Trying to fit the typical mold does not work most of the time. Yes, peer pressure and the thought of keeping up with the Joneses have to cease. Finding a divine way to compare and compromise allows you to maintain a steady heart while facing adversity and alterations. Why sacrifice your soul for the sake of cutting corners and making matters worse in the long run? There always is an alternative to the status quo, especially if the results help you meet the challenge.
Third, as you find favor, compassion and loving-kindness with others, ask questions. You have not because you ask not. Solutions erect as you inquire, search and ask diligently. Daniel submitted his request more than once. When he could not get a solid answer, he took another bold step to ask another person to help bring resolve. Continue asking and whatever you ask for shall be given you. Seek and keep on seeking and you shall find what you are looking for. Knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. You should ask, and search for answers, not haphazardly but discerningly. By doing so you are bound to reap overflowing benefits.
Fourth, realize that long-term goals require a chain of short-term planning. Time is one of life’s most precious commodities. An adage from my late grandmother is “you have more time than you have money.” There is truth to that phrase because we should value our time, and the life we have within it, more than any monetary substance. With time we are able to grow, pursue and acquire. The four young men and others had three years of work ahead of them as they adjusted to change in their living and working environments. Daniel figured that a collection of short-term planning would help them achieve long-term goals.
Fifth, work the plan that brings about astronomical outcomes. Why settle for less? Once you have a proven method, let that be your guide as you move from phase to phase. Daniel and the other three fellows in training continued working with what brought the best results. What was planned, done, checked and acted upon was literally ten times better than any other format.
What will you do when a critical situation demands your attention? Apply the art of critical thinking when your back is against the wall. Use efficient judgment that helps determine what must be done to systematically help reach a certain goal. Be prepared for crisis before they occur by having your appearance, favor and skill combined with wisdom, discernment, understanding, and apt in learning. Let integrity and accountability serve as your standard. Ask questions as you inquire and search for solutions. Realize that long-term goals require a chain of short-term planning. Work the plan that creates the best outcomes.
About Trennie Williams
Trennie Williams is a business development guru who specializes in innovative planning; new product development; marketing and communications. As a businessman, veteran, family man and speaker, he has the privilege and pleasure of inspiring people to greatness. Along with an MBA in Finance, BBA in International Business, and other life skills training, his work includes years of corporate work and community efforts around the globe. For more information about Trennie and to book him for business consulting and speaking at your upcoming events, please email info@TRENNIE.com.