In last Wednesday’s newsletter from The Quivira Coalition, Leah Potter-Weight wrote about a recent field day at the Ute Creek Cattle Company in Bueyeros, New Mexico. She shared a piece of advice from their hosts, Tuda and Jack Crews:
“Think” – a word displayed on Tuda and Jack’s fridge – and Tuda offered this as her #1 piece of advice at the field day.
She emphasized the need to observe and monitor what is really happening, to move past our assumptions, and think for ourselves.
Plan in advance, think through all the possible outcomes of your decisions so you can make decisions that work for your circumstances.
That’s the best advice I’ve ever heard a rancher give. It’s also probably the hardest to implement. How do you go about thinking? How do you notice your own assumptions, let alone move beyond them?
It’s something that I’ve thought a lot about myself, and I’ve tried to give you information and examples that will help, like this article on Creative Problem Solving with an example from a grazier actually implementing the process:
How to Question Your Assumptions
When it comes to assumptions, well, the folks at the William F. Ekstrom Library have this helpful information:
An assumption is an unexamined belief: what we think without realizing we think it. Our inferences (also called conclusions) are often based on assumptions that we haven’t thought about critically. A critical thinker, however, is attentive to these assumptions because they are sometimes incorrect or misguided. Just because we assume something is true doesn’t mean it is.
Think carefully about your assumptions when finding and analyzing information but also think carefully about the assumptions of others. Whether you’re looking at a website or a scholarly article, you should always consider the author’s assumptions. Are the author’s conclusions based on assumptions that she or he hasn’t thought about logically?
I hope that, if nothing else, On Pasture has helped you develop your thinking skills. and all the articles have given you things to ponder. And, in September and on, I hope you’ll come back and continue to explore the On Pasture Library for things you might have missed, or just to revisit some ideas.
Thanks for reading!