top of page

Don't believe everything you think

Updated: Apr 25

Nike caused uproar this week when they unveiled their outrageously sexist Olympic kit for the USA Track and Field team.

But, is it?

When you dig a little deeper, beyond the headlines and the outrage, it transpires there are actually almost 50 different pieces of clothing as part of the range and 12 different kit choices for competition, plus a tailor to modify clothing to fit the athlete.

So, while the cut of the women’s leotard is definitely concerning, the reality is slightly different.

Katie Moon, USA Olympic champion pole vaulter, took to Instagram to share her perspective, in which she explains that women athletes can wear whatever they want from the collection, including the "mens" uniforms, and that there are multiple options and combinations to choose from.

Now, as a competing athlete, Katie will have knowledge and experience that we, the general public, don't have.

But, we do have the publicly available information Nike shared as part of the launch; that there are 50 pieces of clothing with 12 competing kit combinations and that athletes have access to a tailor to fit the pieces to their bodies.

Those pretty relevant facts don't tend to be front and centre in the articles doing the rounds at the moment.

And, that's why Critical Thinking is so important.

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking gets a full chapter in Good Girl Deprogramming— because it's not something good girl conditioning is especially keen on.

For good girl conditioning to work, we need women to believe what they're told, without question, to be unwavering in their trust. In fact, step one of conditioning is to establish trust.

Critical Thinking is a skill, and the main crux of it is not automatically believing everything you’re told but instead asking yourself some good questions and going beyond your immediate default assumption.

Our brains love predictability and certainty, so we are programmed to correlate what’s happening now with our previous experiences. Meaning often, we don’t stop and evaluate. It’s much easier to think what we’ve always thought, and when you’re a woman, it’s true that you will have seen and experienced a GREAT DEAL of sexism in your lifetime.

Let’s be clear. I’m not saying that the Nike leotard isn’t problematic, but when taken in the broader context, it’s actually one option of many—a fact often left out of the reporting or buried at the end of an article.

How to think more critically?

In my book, Good Girl Deprogramming, I outline six steps to develop your critical thinking skills.

  1. Don’t believe everything you’re told

  2. Don’t believe everything you think (yes, this is a tricky one!)

  3. Ask questions

  4. Learn from people you totally disagree with

  5. Keep questioning your thinking

  6. The importance of reflection

Don't believe everything you're told

"Trust, but verify" is a term attributed to Ronald Regan or the KGB, depending on your source (See what I did there?)!

It's essential to look for evidence to support an argument and then consider if there may be other possible views. Evaluate every side of the story or problem, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of these arguments to formulate your opinion.

Don't believe everything you think

This is easier said than done, but it requires you to recognise your opinions and biases. Can you leave these all at the door and embrace information?

In a 2020 research project, Neuroscientists Dr. Jordan Poppenk and Julie Tseng looked at functional MRI brain scans and found that the average human has 6,200 thoughts a day. There's a considerable probability that some of these thoughts are wrong.

So, pay attention and be open to changing your mind.

Ask questions

Thinking takes a lot of effort and energy, so our brains are forever finding shortcuts to make them more energy efficient. They love forming habits, finding patterns and creating mental shortcuts: this thing happened this way that time, so it stands to reason that the same thing will happen again this time. Not so!

Take this as an opportunity to question your default thought or response; try some of these to start you off:

●      Where did you get your information? What was the source?

●      What is the main point of this article?

●      Who wrote it?

●      Who benefits from this narrative? Who does it harm or disadvantage?

●      When was it written?

●      Has the context changed since it was written?

●      What is the counterargument?

●      Is there any information missing from the source?

●      What could an alternative be?

●      What does this add to your knowledge?

●      Why is this information useful/not useful?

Learn from people you totally disagree with

Often not very enjoyable. But, essential.

Try dispassionately listening to people you disagree with and see how your brain responds.

If you're anything like me, you can sometimes get a strange kind of pleasure or schadenfreude when watching one of the 'bad guys' make an absolute twerp of themselves. Yet, I'm frequently horrified when I hear someone I don't like saying things that actually make sense.

Keep questioning your thinking

It's easy to fall back into your comfort zone when thinking, so you need to regularly reflect on your thinking. Have you retrospectively evaluated your work? Is there room for improvement?

You can do this independently through journaling, attending talks and lectures or having deep conversations with those around you.

The importance of reflection

I've never spent enough time reflecting because I need to keep moving forward. Yet spending a short amount of time reviewing events can help you learn from what has happened and build habits that will support you in similar situations in the future.

Graham Gibbs created a helpful model of reflection with key questions including:

  1. What happened?

  2. What were you thinking and feeling?

  3. What was good about the experience, and what could have been better?

  4. What sense can you make of the situation?

  5. What could you have done differently?

  6. Next time, what will you do?

When could you schedule some reflection? Perhaps you could book an hour on a Friday or Saturday morning to reflect on the week that's gone by. The best way to do this depends on what works best for you. If you're a talker, talk to a coach, your family, a friend or a colleague; if you like drawing, draw or paint a picture; if you're a mind-mapper, do some mind-mapping, write in a journal if you're a writer. Or just try them all out and see what works best for you.

23 views0 comments


Los comentarios se han desactivado.
bottom of page