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Thoughts About Thinking

Where we find ourselves. 

Learning to think independently is difficult. 

It’s difficult primarily because of the amount of perspectives we encounter everyday. It’s difficult because thinking for yourself is much harder and more challenging than taking another’s word for granted or accepting something on the basis of authority. Sometimes thinking is tiring. Sometimes it’s scary. 

I get it. But I don’t prescribe it as a philosophy to live by. 

Many today would disagree with me. In a society ruled by groupthink, thinking independently, and certainly thinking itself, is an endangered skill. It’s a rare quality because those who think for themselves are dangerous and threaten the status quo. 

And yet, the skill of thinking has never been more necessary than right now. Never before has there been such a need for people, and especially young people, to rise above the hubbub of social media and take control of their lives and think effectively. 

Without those bold enough to master how they think, meaningful progress is unattainable.

Given action is always motivated by a purpose, effective thinking is only strengthened by an appreciation of the value in thinking for oneself. It is not enough to state that letting others think for you is bad - we must identify why it is good to think. 


Why is it good to think for oneself? 

Thinking is good because it is central to what it means to be human. 

Aristotle said man is the rational animal. Man’s central characteristic is that of thought. 

If it is important to our nature, then thinking is obviously pertinent to how we act in the world. It’s important because thinking is the mechanism of learning (obviously), and therefore the way in which we grow, change, and develop. 

Now, why is thinking for oneself better than letting others feed you conclusions? 

Simply put, it is more empowering. Thinking for yourself gives you control over your life. It gives you freedom to be who you want to be. Thinking for yourself allows you to act appropriately, and thus effectively. 

You are a product of your thoughts. Thus, if your mind is dominated solely by the opinions, conclusions, and analysis of others, you will gradually start to become like others. You will begin to find yourself becoming more and more stuck in the shadow of others rather than being empowered to run your own race. 

If you cannot think for yourself, you will be left with cliches that will simply crowd your thinking. Certainly, too many opinions can only lead to a paralysis of choice. Thinking for yourself is liberating. It is paramount to growth. It is the only way to be better. 


Thought and Challenge. 

If you can think for yourself, you can control how you act. If you can control how you act, you can control your immediate environment effectively, and therefore your outcomes. 

If a thought is a seed, then the outcome is the tree that springs forth. Your thoughts affect your feelings. Your feelings determine your perspective, which determines how you approach something - how you act. Your actions necessarily follow from your thoughts. For every action there is a corresponding consequence. 

The quality of your thoughts about everything from relationships to school to yourself will determine how you act within these frameworks, which will then determine the quality of these things

How you experience something will generally reflect how you perceive it, how you think about it. 

A challenge is only as big as your perception of them. If you perceive these challenges to be more difficult than they are, they will be, not because the challenge changes, but because the disposition of the challenger makes it more difficult to overcome them. Because intentional thought results in productive action, thinking is reflected in the action. Therefore, if your thoughts are pessimistic, then your actions will follow suite - you might feel more unaffected, unmotivated and

I can’t think of any successful conquerors of Everest that believed they couldn't climb the mountain. I can’t think of any successful inventor who gave up halfway through the creative process and decided to quit something they  were passionate about. Thomas Edison said that he never failed, only that he found 1000 ways that didn't work. Notice the change in perspective.

If you are positive about your situation, you will actively seek out those aspects which make it more pleasant and enjoyable. It’s a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Let me be clear, thinking positively is not being naive. Being optimistic is a mindset, it’s a perspective out of which you act. Let me be clear, there is a subtle, yet important difference between optimism and willful ignorance. It is okay to be optimistic and fully apprehensive of your situation. 

Being optimistic includes being totally aware of your circumstances, and simply interpreting them in a different light. This is where the magic happens. As soon as you make that choice, you immediately move into a space where constructive action is possible - thinking positively allows you to move forward aware but uninhibited by the downfalls of the past

Face things head on, but make sure you are facing them with the right mindset. 


What mindset makes...

Mindset determines outcome. 

Change is always a consequence of change within. 

Really, it’s a matter of responsibility. It’s up to you. If you want to see a difference, think differently. If you can revolutionise how you think, you will see a drastic improvement in your material circumstances. If you can change how you think about something, you can change how you respond to it. If you can control your response, you are being efficient. You should only change what you can control - this is all you can or should do. 

Change, however, requires evaluation. 


Do a bit of introspection. Stop yourself. When faced with any new experience, ask yourself these four things: 

  1. What is actually happening?
  2. What am I thinking?
  3. What am I feeling?
  4. How does this affect what I already know? 

Only when you are completely aware of your state of mind, your mindset, can/should you begin to act. Get your thoughts under control. 

So, I ask you:
Who is influencing your thinking? 
How are you thinking? 

Written BY
Corban Eriksson

Central Gold Coast Tutor

Date Created
January 17, 2021