Saturday, January 3, 2015

Socrates the Entrepreneur

Ahhh yea I'm feeling productive now,  lol.  I plan on inserting this post in my book which was supposed to be finished 4 days ago.  But it feels good knowing that I'm multitasking creating content for the book and blog at the same time!  Iv just been so busy trying to maintain status quo that  actually finishing this  book sometimes takes the back seat.

Ok, to the subject at hand.  Iv got a chapter geared to creative thinking and the importance of asking smart questions. I found that my primary mentor, the late and great Socrates actually has something interesting to contribute to the subject.

Socrates is greatly known for his Socratic method of questioning.  His technique is geared to pursue higher levels of thought through asking as many questions as possible in order to contrive the greatest number of quality of answers.  For Socrates, there often wasn't an ultimate "right" answer to a question but simply a "better one" if you will.

Socratic questioning is especially helpful in assessing the quality of thinking of others.  In other words, with his methods, you can discover who is full of sh*t and who isn't.  

His method of questioning is also especially valuable in helping you distinguish the difference between what you think you know from the things you truly know and understand.  He helps us move from faulty fragmented thinking to pragmatic systematic thinking. In so doing, he challenges you to question all assumptions and to cultivate the power of questions in an effort to make a independent thinker out of you.

Since I'm writing a book on business and individual productivity, all I can say is that better questions lead to better answers.  Usually answers are accepted at face value but the trap is that if you always accept answers at face value this will stifle your ability to grow. Being an entrepreneur requires constant creative thinking and searching for better ways of doing things.  If the process of questioning isn't utilized, mental stagnation and lack of creative thinking will soon drown you out as competitors with a more open mind will inevitably  swallow you whole.

  1. Clarify your thinking.  Why do you think that?  Is there a better way to answer your current question or situation?  Can you simplify your question without diminishing its aim?
  2. Challenge your assumptions.  Is your current question and answer really the best applicable one for your situation?  Why do you believe that it is?
  3. Your Evidence should be your basis.  What kind of evidence do you have that suggests that your current questions and resulting answers are really the best solution?  Where are you getting your answers from and are they really all that applicable to you? Is there reason to doubt that they may not be?
  4. Alternative viewpoints and perspectives.  Suppose another intelligent person had another viewpoint on the question and answer.  How strongly would their view  hold up to your own?  How might their opinion contribute to what you are currently thinking?
  5. Implications and Consequences.  Consider alternative ways of thinking and consider what consequences would come out of different ways of doing things.  Is there another way to think that will give better results?
  6. Question your question.  What are you really looking to answer and solve?  Can you widen your question a bit in order to open the door for a greater number of quality answers and solutions?