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Do you have uninformed opinions?

Think. Write. Lead.
Do you have uninformed opinions?
By Diego Pineda • Issue #30 • View online
Hello, there! Welcome to issue #30 of Think.Write.Lead. where I talk about why having strong opinions is vital for thought leadership, outline a process for applying critical thinking to your opinions, and include some Steve Harvey gifs. Enjoy!

Religion and politics.
Do those two words make you feel uncomfortable?
Many people don’t like to discuss them (and others love it).
Why? Because you can get into a clash of opinions and points of view in no time.
And depending on your personality type, you may enjoy or avoid conflict.
Do you have strong opinions?
I bet you do.
And do you post about them on social media?
If you prefer to avoid conflict, perhaps you keep your opinions to yourself and drive on the right lane, where it feels safe.
It’s understandable. It’s easier to maintain the status quo and keep up with the politeness so common on LinkedIn (who wants to be like those trolls on Facebook and Twitter, right?).
Sounds nice, but…
Writing like a thought leader requires you to actually have strong opinions and take a stand.
Then write about it without apologizing.
And not necessarily about politics or religion.
You need strong opinions about the main issues in your industry or business field.
Whether your style is polarizing and aggressive or subtle and thought-provoking, it’s up to you.
The truth is that just presenting the pros and cons of every issue, won’t cut it.
Reporters do that. Millions of bloggers do that.
While content creators let the readers decide, thought leaders say what they think and back it up with arguments.
Thought leaders don’t shy away from controversy because they have thought through their frameworks and done their research.
So let’s make sure that before you start writing about your opinions, you’ve done some critical thinking first.
Take your strongest opinion about an issue in your industry and ask yourself whether that opinion comes from:
  • Intuition (what you think is true)
  • Anecdotal evidence (what someone said or experienced)
  • Authority (what an expert thinks)
  • Reason (what seems logical)
  • Data (what the research shows)
Once you identify the source or sources of your opinion, apply some critical thinking:
  • What evidence (data, research) supports my opinion?
  • How reliable is the evidence (trustworthy source, good research methods)?
  • Do I (or the authority I rely on) have a potential bias (cultural, political, religious, etc.)?
  • Have I evaluated the evidence for other points of view and weighed them fairly against mine?
This exercise may require you to do a bunch of reading before you get to write. So if you’re up for it, here you go:
  • Write down your current position about the topic.
  • Then, find other people’s positions and write a heading for each one of them.
  • Make bullet points under each heading with the evidence you found for them.
  • Analyze the strength of the evidence and the reliability of the sources.
  • Ask yourself: What is the most likely conclusion based on the evidence?
  • Now write your conclusion in the best way possible.
Check out this article for some tips on evaluating sources: How To Assess Sources Like a Scientist
I know what you are thinking: “Wow, this is good stuff. I’m going to bookmark it and do it when I have some time.”
But we both know it won’t happen.
You’ll get busy and forget about this.
In the meantime your opinions will remain uninformed and you won’t be able to lead with your thoughts.
So, let’s get practical with this and take some action.
Open up your calendar and block 30 minutes each day for the rest of this week to research the evidence around your topic. Then block a 2 hour session to evaluate the results.
Ah, and one more thing. Please let me know if you are enjoying this newsletter. All you have to do is click the thumbs up at the footer. Or the thumbs down if you hate it (feel free to unsubscribe, no hurt feelings).
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Diego Pineda

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