March  2020     Edition 149
Critical Thinking - Now more than ever

I can’t think of a more pressing time for applying a little thinking critically then now

with the current covid-19 crises everyone is faced with.

We will all be affected with changes and hardships. On top of this, is the uncertainty about how bad things could get, how long things will take, and what the future really looks like.

I think the three most important thinking tools to use in this situation are the tools of “Facts”, “Need” and “Assumptions”.


… Listen to those who have credentials.  Listen to multiple sources and look for consistency of information.   Wishful thinking is great, but facts are what you need to focus on.  Some of the facts are going to be hard to listen to and we might not want to believe them, but if they are coming from multiple reliable sources, then take them as truth.

Be vigilant and flexible.  There will be mistakes, expect them. There will be new information that might change how the experts are viewing the older information, expect that too. 

And there will be stories …  just because one person has an experience, doesn’t mean that everyone is having that experience.  There will be rumors.  

And there will be crooks … There are already tons of fake cures, and scams taking advantage of fear and panic. 

Stay with the facts; verify and validate sources and information.  Ask yourself, “how do I know this is true?”, “how do I know this is valid?”  “What can I do to verify this information?”, “how credible is this source?”, “how consistent is this source?”  


– what are the things that are really necessary for you, your family, and your business and why are they necessary?
For example (not particularly in order)

Staying healthy yourself

Why-If you’re not healthy you’ll be miserable, a burden on our health infrastructure and society, and not helpful to others.   You can infect others. We certainly don’t exist so that we can be unhealthy..

Help others stay healthy

Why-Besides protecting your family, friends and other fragile human beings, if they are not healthy, you jeopardize your health and your business  This also will minimize the spread as well as the all the consequences, e.g. economic effects..

Staying socially connected while being separated

To minimize the psychological impact, and lower the probability of human to human transmission of the disease

Finding a economic method to endure for a period of time

Why-to minimize the affect on your way of life

It makes sense that we’re being told to keep our distance from others.  If we all were physically separated from each other for a few weeks, then no one could give anyone else the disease, and the virus would completely disappear.  This isn’t practical, but we can minimize the interaction which will lower the transmission rate.

So, before you do anything, ask yourself


Is what I’m about to do, consistent with the facts, and will it help or hinder achieving my top three or four needs?

If it helps, do it; if it hinders, don’t.  AND if the answer is do it, then ask;

how can I accomplish this with the goal of minimizing physical interaction with other?. 

For example; Eating is necessary and food is the solution.  Therefore, obtaining food is necessary.  But is it necessary for you to go to the store?  Maybe.  Can you achieve this a different way; online; pool your lists together with others and send only one person; never go with any kind of illness or symptoms, etc.   Look at ways to achieve what is necessary by asking yourself if your solution is the only way to achieve that result. 

Is it necessary to visit with a friend, or go to a party, or travel?  It might be a strong want but is it necessary?  If not, don’t.  You’ll have plenty of future opportunities to fulfill your wants.


This is the big one that explains why many are in panic, or certainly we’re all in an unsettled state.  It’s really difficult to make assumptions about the future when things are changing so rapidly, and there is so much unknown.   Will this last two more weeks, two more months, a year?  How many people will be affected?  Will I lose my job, or if I’ve already lost it, for how long?   What’s going to happened with my savings? The list is long, and the answers are few.

My recommendation is to look two or three scenarios; such as  Optimistic, Realistic, Pessimistic.  This will be different for everyone, but will allow you to make a plan, and revise the plan as time goes on.  The plan doesn’t have to be a detailed step by step instruction manual, but should have some actions about what approach you might consider when or if events occur and at different timelines. 

1. Make the assumptions associated with those timelines / scenarios and write those assumptions down. 
2. Then, list out the actions you would take if those assumptions turn out to be valid. 
3. Each week, check and ask, are the assumptions I’ve made still valid?  If so, keep your plan, if not, change your plan

The Takeaway

A little critical thinking won’t eliminate covid-19, but will allow you to have a strategy with a few scenarios as we all try to cope and fight against this disease, and will give you a few action items to keep you busy and allow you to prepare.

Stay well my fellow thinkers …

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