Following someone else’s ideology is mentally easier than thinking for ourself.
Who remembers hearing as a child “Because I said so?”
As adults, it turns into “Because that’s how it works. “
We hear this often enough, we stop asking questions.
Or, if we reject dogma, we are often viewed as a problem.
First-principles reasoning (breaking down complicated problems and generating original solutions) cuts through dogma and helps us see the world as it is and what is possible.
One way to establish first principles is through Socratic Questioning. This disciplined questioning process helps establish truths, reveal underlying assumptions, and separate knowledge from ignorance. Here’s how:
1. Clarify Your Thinking – Why do I think this?
2. Challenge Assumptions – How do I know this is true?
3. Find Evidence – What are the sources?
4. Consider Alternative Perspectives – What might others think?
5. Consequences and Implications – What if I am wrong?
6. Question the Original Question – What conclusions can I draw from the reasoning process?
If we never learn to take something apart, test the assumptions, and reconstruct it, we end up trapped in the way things have always been done.
Adapted: FS Brain Food No. 396 | Photo: Control Life for Success