Five ways to think like Galileo and Steve Jobs.
"It’s easy to confuse being a skeptic with being a cynic. So let’s define the terms.
A cynic distrusts most information they see or hear, particularly when it challenges their own belief system. Most often, cynics hold views that cannot be changed by contrary evidence. Thus, they often become intolerant of other people’s ideas. It’s not difficult to find cynics everywhere in our society, from the halls of Congress to our own family dinner tables. People who are driven by inflexible beliefs rarely think like Galileo or Jobs.
Skepticism, on the other hand, is a key part of critical thinking – a goal of education. The term skeptic is derived from the Greek skeptikos, meaning “to inquire” or “look around.” Skeptics requires additional evidence before accepting someone’s claims as true. They are willing to challenge the status quo with open-minded, deep questioning of authority.
In today’s complex world, skeptics and cynics are often hard to differentiate."
(Of course, when he says "think like a scientist," that doesn't mean there isn't room for a belief system. The bottom line is that we fact-check what we hear.)