How to develop critical thinking | a powerful filter for everything you read

A large part of what you read / view everyday is bullshit

You aren’t aware of it. But I’m telling you.

Watching too much informational content is bad for you.

Your brain is like a sponge. It can only contain absorb a certain quantity of information. Once it’s done, he will digest them so you will be able to feed him again – when you sleep.

That’s why reading for 10 hours a day ain’t the best strategy to learn new things.

Just do, practice and take action. You’ll do fine. That’s what top 10% guys do.

Take action. By doing you’ll learn more than by reading !

That’s said, let’s jump in the topic.

What you shouldn’t watch

  • The tv journal. Too much crap exposed here. Many, many bad news, perfect if you want to cry once a day. Really, do you need to know what’s happening on the other side of the world ? No ! It doesn’t affect you. 2 minutes ago you didn’t know about the existence of the country they are speaking about. I don’t care about what is happening at the other side of the world because I can’t do anything to help there.
  • The newspaper. Same as the journal, just the paper version of it.
  • Your facebook if you didn’t chose some guys to follow – You’ll find how to choose who to follow below –. If you are like the average user, your feed is full of crap. Many advertisements, some “funny” videos and many cringe people posting to get attention. None of these informations matter to you. You don’t need to hear what the drama queen of facebook has to say. You don’t need to get Julien’s method to become rich in 37 seconds by betting on the most extraordinary stock market. No. That’s all bullshit.
  • Your instagram feed. The purpose of this app is to wash your brain. Nothing else. Girls, girls and girls, quotes, quotes that’s it. A little bit of objectivity. Will this help you to run your business ? Will this make you stronger ? You should avoid instagram if you aren’t building your brand on it. I only use it to share some pictures and link to our guild. I don’t have any other use for instagram, except building a brand on it.

Don’t let those become habits !

Now you may think that this blog and most informational sites are clean, right ? They aren’t. We – every writergive 80% of gap filler with 20% of pure knowledge. I say this, but most website don’t come near the 10%… You know, most people read for entertainment only, they will never apply what they learned.

When you read a book, the same logic happen. Most of it is for the reader’s pleasure. The rest will be applicable strategy – I speak about non-fictional books – to do whatever you bought the book for.

Everything we are exposed to is full of bullshit. Of stories, of marketing ads, of non-sense, of gap fillers. That’s where the critical thinking part plays his role. Without it, you read the whole book, you watch the whole video. This is a great strategy if you want to relax while learning. But here, at Nerdow we are busy people. We don’t have much time for craps. We want to cut fast and clear. That’s why we will only read the knowledge part.

So you are calling every thing I read bullshit ?

Yeah. That’s what we are accustomed to. It’s normal for us to read a little story for everything.

You wouldn’t like it if every book 20 to 40 pages full of bullet point. It wouldn’t be exciting to read them anymore. You won’t even buy these books – I wouldn’t.

The plot is made to give us another edge on lessons. That’s a way to educate the reader while conveying extra informations. No one would read a book without a story behind it.

What can you do to skip the bullshit ?

I told you, the 80% / 20% rules apply in whatever you read.

An amazing pie, I’ll eat it later.

We need to develop critical thinking. I only want to eat the green part… veggies !

Basic maths here, don’t run away. If you only read 20% of the book and still get the most meaningful informations out of it. Then it leaves you 80% of a time that you would have wasted if you read it all.

Basically it takes you 6 to 12 hours to end a book. This mean that you gain between 288 minutes and 576 minutes of free time for every book you read. That’s just a bunch of time that you can add in your hourglass to develop your business / think about what you just read / read another book / walk / ride a bike / do whatever you want.

How to read the most important part

  • Books : Each book as it’s own structure for every chapter. It’s often an alternation between samples, proof that it works and the idea ( only in non fictional books ). What’s worth reading is the idea. The rest is only written to entertain you / to convince you that the idea works. Summaries like this one are pretty handful too!
  • Website / blog : The owner can use some tools to highlight the important content. Title, bold, underline… The idea lies in the form. If you only read the titles and the highlighted text you should understand the whole idea without reading everything.
  • Serials : If you want to watch some series, I recommend you to watch them at 1.5x of the original speed. You watch them faster and don’t waste the content quality. Everything is still understandable while being faster.
  • Tv / journal : Just don’t watch it. Waste of time.
  • Feed on social media : You must customize them. Choose wisely who you follow. The best way to keep a clean feed is to follow less than 100 different sources of content. The lesser, the better. The more people you have in your feed, the more the content drowns in itself. Also think about what people are going to share. If you don’t have an interest in it, don’t follow them EVEN if they are friends. You don’t want to have the average feed full of crap that you keep scrolling for hours on end to find an interesting post. Don’t be like this. Choose who you follow and you’ll be set !

Deployment of the bullshit filter – Critical thinking

Whatever you read / watch / listen to may contain some bullshit. People are lazy, most don’t verify their sources so many informations aren’t congruent with the reality.

Everyone has it’s perception of the reality. Everyone has a different one so when you chose someone to listen to, you listen to HIS perception of reality. That’s the way he perceives the world through his captors – eyes, senses, tastes… -. This perception depend on many factors that have an influence over it :

  • Education
  • Believes
  • Background
  • Social life
  • Political believes
  • Experiences
  • Friends

And a bunch of other ingredients which create a person.

This explains why nothing is objectives. We all carry a luggage wherever we go. In this one we have all our factors which change the way we perceive the world.

If three person view the same scene, they will tell three different story about it. Makes sense ?

The critical thinking filter in simple steps

Whenever you want to verify the veracity of some words run the following algorithm :

  1. Have you ever heard of that ? Does this makes sense ?
  2. Search it on google. If you can find pictures it adds to credibility. Originals are better !
  3. Check for locations. Often when stories are bullshit, locations are fake or generic without much precision.
  4. If you still have doubts. Ask a question to someone who knows the subject.

Sample : How to use the critical thinking bullshit detector

My father told me that they were cable car to move coal from one place to another.

  1. I never heard of that. For me, the coal traveled on tracks. It didn’t make senses.
  2. I searched it on google. I found some old pictures related.

    The picture match. It’s a funicular to transport coal
  3. I checked for the location, it’s the right one.
  4. I had no more doubts. No need to ask someone else for his opinion

You can use this little algorithm to figure out if something is believable or not. It works for whatever information you can find. It just take extra efforts that most people don’t want to come with. You know, they don’t care about they read. They don’t think about it. It’s a gigantic mistake. If everything you read is false. How can you build your knowledge on wrong pillars ?