Do you find yourself relying on the opinions of others instead of thinking for yourself? I know that I have found myself listening to others in order to make decisions about my own life. When I hear myself say it, it doesn’t make sense, but I did it…a lot! Most of the time, the advice was ill-advised and I was left wishing that I would have just done what I was telling myself. Learning how to become an independent thinker takes some retraining of your brain…THAT takes time and energy, and a whole lot of patience. Ok, so I have a few steps that you (and I) can take to start thinking for yourself.
- Let go of your preconceptions. As an independent thinker, all of the things that were “instilled” in you or that you were indoctrinated into believing have to go. These are things that were given to you by people who you trust and you adopted the thinking. Sit down and think rationally and keep an open mind. Have you ever thought that those things that you were taught and now make up your reality may be wrong? Think about them…do this thinking without emotion and see what you come up with.
- Question all things! DO not just accept everything that you are told. Ask yourself WHY every once in a while. You don’t have to think the way the rest of them think or do what everyone else is doing. Just because things are being done one way now, does not mean that it will be done that way forever. Try to become more aware of all of the hypocrisy in your life and the lives of those close to you.
- Watch/listen to educational material. I am a reader and definitely listen to podcasts often, if not daily. Free education is everywhere. Take advantage of it in your free time. You won’t be sorry. And do your own research. Take your time looking for information that will help you make a fair judgment about things you have an opinion about. If you enjoy debates, you need to have information to back up your opinions. This way you can also form opinions using logic and not emotions…things get heated for no reason that way.
- Travel more! This is my ultimate favorite of course. For a change in perspective, we have to get out of our neighborhoods and see what things are like out there. Seeing the way other people live makes you realize that the environment that you live in is just a bubble, and there other ways to do things. Things are a certain way for each of us, but we should know that it is not going to be the same way for others. Get out there and see a different perspective so that you can learn more about yourself as well.
- Watch the company you keep. “If you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”. DO you know that saying? I LOVE that saying because, for me, it is driving me to find people that are where I want to be. I mean, we all know something that we can teach to others and we should fill our lives with people who have knowledge that we are pursuing. It is especially rewarding to find others that are on the same journey or close to it. This way you all can expose each other to new ideas and lend a hand or two along the way.
- Read more! Honestly, there is nothing like curling up on the couch with a good book and escaping reality…if only for a couple of hours. Libraries are one of my favorite places, along with the book store. All of the knowledge that is waiting for us to grab! We need to continue to enlighten our minds. Reading makes us more well-rounded and insightful and The more we know, the more thought-provoking and solid our conversations, opinions, and stance will be.