“We need people with critical mind to run the society”
“Leaders need to be critical”
These are a few common statements about the quality of being critical. But do we really know what we mean by ‘being critical’?
Is it by being able to criticise?
Or is it the ability to speak convincingly in public?
Or rather, it is the ability to counter any argument?
What is being critical?
Is it in the talking, or is it in the questioning?
A session with my module lecturer, Keith Hoskin enlightened my understanding of being critical. And I can say that I agree with his definition.
Being critical is being able to ask the right question.
Yes, I fully subscribe to the above definition.
We have so many people who can give a spot on statement. We have a lot of people capable of answering so many questions, be it difficult or simple. We can find many individuals who can give very convincing speeches. But are they the most valuable person in the society? Or in an organisation case, are they the most important people in the team?
Are they being critical?
No. Not yet. To be critical, you must be able to ask the right question. You must be able to find loopholes in ideas. You must be able to point out weaknesses. You must be able to bring out the flaws. You must be able to find areas not yet explained.
And arguably, this is the hardest task! Almost everyone can come up with ideas. Almost everyone can answer questions rather precisely. But not everyone can ask the right question.
By having a critical person, we can be reminded of things that we forget.
And by reminding us of things that we forget, we can achieve perfection, as defined below by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away
So, do not get angry when people start to ask question!