My Modus Operandi (in brief):
Curiosity + Rationality = A Mind Capable of Evolving
I believe that while curiosity promotes cognitive development and wards off sclerosis of the belief-system, rationality can help us distinguish between those theories, arguments, and bits of evidence that are strong, and those that are weak. Although our years of schooling (formal education) are limited, learning is something we do every day of our lives. Not only do we constantly learn new pieces of information, but we occasionally learn new ways of thinking about information.
Curiosity and rationality are essential to becoming better learners — to improving both what and how we think. When pulled into learning by curiosity, we are likely to fully explore the material before us and to freely contemplate its significance. We are also more likely to seek and gather information beyond our short-term and sometimes biased objectives. The curious mind is forever asking questions and is continually receptive to new information. Whether or not that information is considered valid is the work of rationality.
Rationality can be viewed as the conscious weighing of information (and any argumentation used to convey and make sense of it) to come to a decision or conclusion. Decisions and conclusions can be more or less rational depending upon the information they are based upon and the strength or weakness of the reasoning employed. Less rational conclusions tend to result from too little information, poor quality information, a biased selection of information, the improper weighing of information and/or weak argumentation.
Not coincidentally, rationality is the bedrock scientific thinking is built upon. Science, as you are probably aware, has proven to be the best way to advance our understanding of the universe. It should be emphasized, however, that scientific thinking is no esoteric process. Einstein once described science as the refinement of everyday thinking. There is nothing alien or anti-human about science, as there is nothing alien or anti-human about rationality. Both should be embraced as the working of a refined mind. And that refinement is a work in progress.