The Lost Art of Thinking For Yourself

There are a million ways I could think to start this post, and not a single one of them would accomplish anything useful.

Basically, there are too many times when we rational adults give up the burden of thinking and follow someone else’s thinking. We do it without considering why we’re doing it, beyond the fact our friends or family are following this person. We fail to think about the person’s credentials, about what they’re saying, about our own personal opinions, experiences, and values.

We spend time teaching children to think for themselves, to become critical thinkers, and yet to follow the crowd so they won’t stand out too much.

What message are we trying to instill in these future adults? And what future are we modeling for them when we follow without thought?

These questions have actually weighed fairly heavily on me over the last several months as I’ve moved through work, through my readings, through watching fads and temperaments sweep through friends and family. What leads us to toss aside everything we know to be true and good to follow someone who got a six-figure book or talk show deal. Are we that afraid of finding our own way that we think we have to hang on to someone who managed to accomplish something? Maybe we feel we don’t have enough time to reflect and think analytically?

I actually started thinking that maybe I was just insane, but this post on being your own guru is slowly convincing me that maybe I’m not. Maybe we should all be taking the time to stop, to listen to ourselves (even if we don’t fully trust ourselves), to not blindly follow someone else.

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