Our culture is increasingly dominated by prescriptive content. People want to know what to do and how to do it. They want tips to get rich quick, daily habits to be more productive, hacks to overcome sticky problems, quotes to instantly inspire them. They want easy solutions and they want them now.
- DEVELOP A STRONG SENSE OF SELF. Know who you are, what you want and what is best for you. Do not let others, especially marketing companies and the media, tell you how you should look, feel and act. Do what is best for you. Cultivate your own tastes and enjoy your preferences.
- BE WELL-INFORMED. Gather as much information about a subject as possible before forming an opinion. Build your mental resources by reading, observing, and listening for yourself. Then take time to reflect and evaluate.
- BE FLEXIBLE. Look for solutions and outcomes to a situation from as many perspectives as you can. Determine the pros and cons. Are there other possibilities? Whom might it harm/benefit? What are the potential consequences?
- IDENTIFY POSSIBLE BIASES. Are you being unduly influenced by your culture, upbringing or other people’s opinions? Are you being fair and open-minded? Many times we make poor decisions because we begin with the wrong premise. If we take time to evaluate and judge based upon what we observe first hand rather than what we’ve been lead to believe, we can arrive at a more appropriate and practical conclusion.
Do not buckle under pressure, fear, or guilt. Have the courage to stand up for what you really believe and have deduced yourself. If you go along with the crowd for the sake of keeping peace, avoiding confrontation, or fear of failure, you do everyone a disservice, especially yourself.
The Benefits of thinking for yourself:
- You develop self-confidence and trust in your abilities
- You attain a greater sense of accomplishment
- You expand your mind and boost your brain power
- You gain respect from others by standing up for what you believe in and by being original
- You are more aware and alert to what the media is trying to sell you
- You are more open to self-improvement and alternative viewpoints
- You are more interesting to others by expanding their thinking and options