What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Don't Get Defensive, Get Socratic

June 25, 2013, 12:00 AM

We all have people around us who aggressively poke at us. And when they do that, we tend to have a visceral reaction. In other words, we get defensive.

And when you do so, you give up the high ground. Or to put it another way, "you’ve actually lost your leadership position." So says executive coach Stephen Miles, founder and CEO of The Miles Group. If you are acting defensively, Miles says, that is sending the signal that there actually is something that needs defending. 

According to Miles, there is a simple tool that will help you avoid this. It is a tool that can be used in both your personal and professional life. When you feel provoked by someone, facilitate them, says Miles.  People need affirmation more than anything, so affirm their point of view.

That will go a long way toward diffusing the situation. And then, Miles says, "stay on the front foot and start asking questions." This style of socratic leadership, as Miles calls it, involves seeking the facts and data to back up a particular point of view. This is a particularly effective tactic, Miles says, because "a lot of people who are aggressive at work around topics actually are very anecdotal." So once you get to the second or third question, Miles says in the video below, the anecdotal evidence simply won't hold up. 

By facilitating, instead of being defensive, Miles says "you’ll end up in the higher place" and "you haven’t lost your ability to lead that point of view."

Watch here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


Don't Get Defensive, Get So...

Newsletter: Share: