How Assumptions Interfere with Critical Thinking

assumptions interfere with critical thinking video games

“We make decisions based on what we think we know.” – Simon Sinek

There is a common saying about assumptions: when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.

Here’s the hard part: we make assumptions all the time.

One of my all-time favorite games is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. In this game you play as Dracula’s son, Alucard, who enters his father’s castle to stop him from terrorizing humanity. This entry in the Castlevania series was a pivotal point in the franchise, including more RPG elements, exploration, and special powers based progress than previous entries.

I’ve played through this game countless times, so on this playthrough I had some specific goals, in particular I wanted to acquire an overpowered item called the Ring of Varda. This item is only acquired as a rare random drop from killing a specific enemy that is only found in a few places in the game.

As soon as I located the first opportunity to earn the item, I began the process of killing the enemy off, leaving the room, and entering again until I could get the ring.

There was only one problem. After 30 minutes of repeating the process, I still had not found a Ring of Varda.

I tried everything I could think of, but like U2, I still hadn’t found what I was looking for.

So I did the only sensible thing: I kept at it for another 90 minutes.

After some online research, I discovered that I needed to finish the game and start over before the item would even show up. Whoops.

My assumption cost me 2 hours of my life with no results.

How Critical Thinking Can Overcome Assumptions

 

This past weekend I attended the Life Style Design Summit in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, and I had the amazing opportunity to hear Randy Gage speak about the importance of questioning our assumptions. He pointed out that industries like brick and mortar bookstores, taxis, and cell phones were dramatically disrupted by “outsiders” who did not share the same assumptions everyone “in” the industry held.

Here’s the million dollar take away: you need to question everything.

Even the core assumptions that serve as the foundation for your business, dreams, and life.

Jeff Bezos, Tony Hsieh, and Travis Kalanick all disrupted entire industries for millions of people. They did not accept the same assumptions that more experienced experts were blinded by.

The key is in the question. During his talk, Randy Gage also said “If you ask the wrong question, the answer is irrelevant.”

I was immediately curious, “How does one begin to ask better questions?”

“Practice.”

It may require extreme bravery.
You may look stupid.

Or you may change the world.

What assumptions need questioning in your life?

Fairy Tale Ending: I went on to finish Castlevania: SOTN and acquire not one, but two Rings of Varda, but far more importantly I took a life lesson with me that may forever change my life.

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  • Live Like You Game

    I think that video games are a great environment for people to practice critical thinking. Games often challenge what you think is the right approach and force you to analyze your situation to find the right path. The ability to break down problems and situations like that is a valuable skill.