This morning I had a realization about a contrast between myself and my kids. When I was growing up we were on the cusp of the information revolution. In elementary school we still made frequent trips to the library to get books to do research, but as we moved into high school we stopped going to the library to get books and started going because that was were you could get access to the internet. Now all that information we used to have to go and find resides in my daughters pocket and is accessible 24/7 through her smart phone. The information that used to trickle slowly into our minds through hours of searching and reading has become a fire hose of “always on” information streams.
The problem we had as kids was lack information availability (or that we had to work for the information we wanted). This is starkly contrasted by what we face today. There is so much information that needs to be filtered and we can become overwhelmed.
This “always on” information stream makes us vulnerable to misinformation and bias. We have to sort through so much information that we have become dependent on filters like social media and news outlets to tell us what they think we should be thinking is important. See the problem here?
Our responsibility is to be champions of critical thinking in the face of potentially drowning in information. We have to advocate for the slower approach of thinking about how we think, thinking about how we gather information, and thinking about the credibility of that information. We have to spend the time required to learn the facts, face down our cognitive and personal biases, and find the truth and value in the noise.
What do you think? How do you search through the flood of information for the valuable insights you need?
I would love to hear from you. Come on over to our closed facebook discussion group to share your insights. Or you can email me directly at Jon@masteryofskill.com. You can also sign up to receive The Friday Huddle, a short weekly email from me that gives you the tips, insights, and musings that have gotten me through the week.