Five Steps to Always Think for Yourself

Five Steps to Always Think for Yourself

We all have the freedom of thought and will and no one, no matter how eloquent or politically correct, can take that from us unless we allow it.

I’ve written in the past that there are obstacles to living a creative life.  The primary three obstacles are:

  1. Not thinking for oneself
  2. Emotional wounds
  3. Excessive busyness

We all have struggled with these to certain degrees  but each one of these can greatly hinder our creative fire, they can cover over our creative abilities and cause us to not be able to create as we were designed to.

The first obstacle (not thinking for oneself) is a doozy. This concerns me as I see it seemingly expanding. I see this in almost every area of life, from all walks of life, no one is exempt from this stumbling stone, those who think for themselves are few and far between.

Be it politics (and all the topics being  politicized), religion, handling money, healthcare issues, school systems,  any difficult debate on any topic, we are better off if we have thought it through on our own rather than empowering other people to think for us.  Not thinking is usually a guarantee at getting deceived.

I want to share a 5-step process which can ensure that we can always think for ourselves. I’ll name this process at the end.  Everyone reading this post can begin to think for themselves by following five steps as they approach any difficult question or topic.

  1. Do some learning on your topic first: study what other people are saying on your question, study the facts, if someone feels strongly in a certain direction, try to find opposing opinions.  Look for intellectually honest people, not partisan non-thinkers. To do this well we mustn’t accept anyone’s word at face value, suspend all trust for the moment, for the sake of thinking for yourself. Take no one’s word for anything at step in the process.
  2. Create two or more theories of your own: theories about a solution or answer to the question, they may match closely the existing two sides of a debate or they may be wildly different from any other side.  Create your own idea that you think makes sense and suspend any tendency to take a side for the moment if only for the sake of thinking for yourself.
  3. Test your theories based on reality, based on the laws of physics or based on what you know to be true. Testing of theories can be done with almost anything. Science questions are the easiest to test because of observable experiments.   Look into the popular sides to a question and explore how their hypothesis were tested, look into if they were tested at all. At this stage do not trust anything that has not been tested and demonstrate-able.  If people say its been tested and here are the results don’t trust them unless you can see for yourself.  This is a time of intentional doubt of anything unseen.
  4. Study results, if you are looking at other people’s tests, what assumptions have they made. What assumptions are they hiding? What assumptions might you be making? State clearly all assumptions.
  5. Draw YOUR conclusion, this is the moment where we get to decide on our own what we think about a topic.  This is the moment when we start to think for ourselves.  This process can become rapid second nature over time. As I’ve grown older I’ve learned when to trust and when to not trust people, regardless of their position, intelligence and authority.  I’ve learned to spot unspoken or hidden assumptions a mile away and expose them, sometimes they are terrible assumptions, to the point of deception.

Too many people refuse to think for themselves these days, I’m shocked to hear people who are supposed advocates for science do and openly discourage people to think for themselves.  Science has taken a celebrity/ politics dominated turn away from its roots. Politics has hijacked our scientific mental processes.  Much of the scientific community has become a political battering ram for a minority of non-thinkers.

By following the above 5 steps we can begin to think for ourselves on every topic and not be pushed or pulled around by deceptive or foolish people… no matter how eloquent or well groomed they look on TV.

If you haven’t noticed yet these topics were taken from a popular process from generations past. These process steps were taken from the scientific method. Remember that?

In what areas have you seen people refuse to think for themselves?