Intellectual Perseverance in a Complex World

Brad G. Philbrick
4 min readDec 8, 2020

One thing for sure, we live in a complex world. It is now one crisis, issue, and event after another. The answers do not come easy, and the thoughts, decisions, and viewpoints vary a lot. Our reviews and decisions require thinking, specifically, critical thinking. The ability to think critically is vital to one’s success in all areas

Now is an excellent time to analyze one’s intellectual perseverance. If you prefer, stating it conversely, then one can explore intellectual laziness. What is intellectual perseverance? According to authors Richard W, Paul, and Linda Elder in their book, Critical Thinking, Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life, is “the disposition to work one’s way through intellectual complexities despite the frustration inherent in the task.”

Academic tasks abound; we face workplace decisions in personal matters such as financial matters, determining a career path, and parenting. But our need to think goes beyond our private world; it reaches out to the entire world around us. A perfect example is how do we feel about the decisions made on the COVID-19 pandemic?

Politicians offer their thoughts and render their mandates. Healthcare officials state facts and findings on the coronavirus. As it is often in the medical sciences, findings and opinions differ. The question becomes, how do you relate to all of this matter of critical thinking. And critical thinking it is indeed! Lives are at stake, many businesses suffer, others reap huge awards, and many suffer behavioral issues due to the virus.

While we may or may not agree with others’ opinions and decisions, understanding others’ views requires us to do scholarly study and research to understand others’ thinking and points of view. To do so is intellectual perseverance.

The world today has a plethora of crafty, skilled, self-centered, and self-righteous thinkers. Healthcare has its unethical healthcare providers that seek to scam the government and insurance. Government has enough greedy politicians only serving themselves and not the people they are to represent. Unscrupulous lawyers seek to twist laws and evidence to suit their selfish needs.

Stellar critical thinkers are fair-minded. Again, a critical thinker appreciates the viewpoint of others. He or she may not agree, but the perspective is respected and valued. Critical thinkers do not use their knowledge to manipulate others, but instead, they use thinking ethically.

Seek to improve your critical thinking. Begin by awareness of significant problems and the questions that arise. Gather information, assess it, and interpret your findings. Now gather possible solutions and compare them to other results, views, and what may be considered the standard. It is then time to collaborate with others, communicating to determine appropriate solutions to complex challenges.

Critical thinking is a practical endeavor yielding great rewards, but it does require considerable effort. Successful critical thinking requires:

· Initiative and organizational skills

· Ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses

· Monitoring one’s behavior to relate well in social situations

· Correcting one’s thoughts and actions so that one better communicates and builds successful relationships with others in business, personal life, and family

· Mindful charge of its use

· Effective communication and the ability to solve problems in an equitable fashion

Perseverance leads to success in our physical being too. Most people, though, find it easier to exercise their bodies than their brains. We all know the physical exercise motto, “no pain, no gain.” Why is it when challenged with a philosophical problem, we shy away from the matter? We give up, hope someone else takes on the work, or at best, give it a lame effort. The problem does not receive the attention; that is the critical thinking necessary to move forward.

We all can attribute our life to the way we think. Critical thinking empowers you. Life gains greater clarity, life becomes an adventure in finding new opportunities, and you discover your weaknesses and learn to overcome them.



Brad G. Philbrick

Brad earned a B.S. degree in Pharmacy from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.