Improve your ability to think logically

September 27, 2022 | Jarrod Saxton

Business people reasoning through strategy

When it comes to being effective at anything, I can’t think of a better place to start than using reason.

To reason is to use logic to think something through in a clear way. In a business context, we use reason to test whether or not we are making the best possible decisions and taking the best possible actions.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that, in business, using reason is necessary – if they did disagree, they would likely go on to explain their ‘reasons’ why, and would then be using reason (the very thing they are arguing against) to justify their position… So, if they show up to that debate, they’ve already lost…

There is no denying that reason is necessary, but what about improving on that ability? How much more effective could you be if you actively focused on improving your ability to be more logical? 

Well as it turns out, some of the world’s greatest industry disruptors and business empires originated from very strong reasoning and critical thinking ability.

Jeff Bezos’ idea to start Amazon came from thinking logically; his idea to start up an online book store was the end result of a set of logical premises. If you don’t believe me, watch Bezos back in 1997 go through his logic here.

Jeff’s thought process goes something like this:

1. Web usage is growing at 2,300% every year.

2. Business ideas that make use of the web will benefit from that growth.

3. However, the web is still an infant technology and isn’t as reliable as traditional methods.

4. Therefore, to be truly valuable, business ideas that use the web must offer something that can only exist on the web, so that no one can compete via traditional methods.

5. There are more than 3 million different books worldwide active and printed at any given time across all languages.

6. When you have that many books, you can build an online store that couldn’t exist any other way (physical bookstores cannot offer 3 million different books).

7. Therefore, an online bookstore can offer a much wider variety of books and use the web in an innovative way that is also truly valuable to the customer.

I find that so brilliant and refreshing.

When most people want to start a business, they come up with the idea first and then think about the conditions for success second. Bezos did it the other way around; he thought about the conditions for success first, and then arrived at his business idea second. Bezos’ business idea was the end result of his set of logical premises.

Hearing Jeff Bezos in this video makes me think of our situation with the Black Belt in Thinking courses. 

1. Now people have more information available to them than ever before, and that is good.

2. Unfortunately, there is the side effect of there being too much information to process, or that information being misused (I recently heard from a doctor who noticed a trend in visits from argumentative patients entrenched in a self-diagnosis they arrived at using the internet).

3. So, information curation (knowing what information is most useful for you, or guiding others towards finding out what information is most useful to them) is becoming increasingly more important.

4. The best way to curate information is with logic, critical thinking, and reasoning.

5. Covid has caused online education and training courses to become the norm (actually, people have become so used to online courses that we now have to have to specify “in-person” courses. Pre-covid it was the other way around).

6. So, online courses that help people use reason and critical thinking to filter out what information to focus on would be highly valuable – which is exactly what we do.

I really like thinking through what we are doing in this way. It gives me a lot of confidence that we are heading somewhere great and that there is massive potential for growth – actually, the timing for us couldn’t be any better.

Now it’s your turn! Think of a business idea, career move, strategy, or something that’s been on your mind lately that you really care about, and ask yourself why you think it’s going to work. Can you logically think through why your decision is going to pay off? Give it a go.

And of course, if you want to pull together the right logical premises, pin down assumptions that catch most people off guard, and see more of what you expect to happen in your head, actually happening in reality, join our Thinking Foundations course.”