Friday, September 09, 2005
what do you think?
one of the most important of these lessons, is that it can be very easy for us to cede our thinking to that of others or to the generally accepted notions expressed in society. more simply put - we swallow things whole. we accept things at face value rather than putting them through the filter of our thinking, our values and our vision.
when someone asks your opinion on something, or when you are trying to solve a problem, how often do you find your mind referencing some fact or perspective you heard somewhere else and parroting it back word for word? we so often let our brains go on auto-pilot. sometimes we do so out of necessity, we are so pushed to produce more and more, quicker and quicker that snap answers seem like the only option. but so much is lost in our experience of life when we simply accept what is rather than questioning, considering and then formulating our thoughts.
and don't get me wrong, i'm not saying that we shouldn't learn from the thoughts and ideas of others, on the contrary i think that is a large part of what life is all about, what i'm aiming for is to actually learn rather than simply reciting. to interalize the ideas i come across, to think them through and meld them with what i already know and believe, to make them my own.
i think the tendency to swallow ideas whole can be an especially easy trap to fall into when we are in contact with people who we perceive as having more experience or knowledge than us. they share an idea and we assume it must be right, after all they "know what they're talking about." the question is do we know what they're talking about? do we agree with it? do we have a unique perspective to add?
one of the biggest assets i gained from my liberal arts education is my ability to think critically. i was literally taught how to think for myself, how to read something, analyze it, and then formulate my own ideas about it. it's a skill that is easy to let fall away as we enter the working world, but one that i think makes life all the richer if we can hold onto it.
so as you go about your life, in fact as you're reading this blog, i challenge you to really think about your own unique perspectives and opinions on all that you come in contact with.
what do you think about the ideas i'm writing about? what do you think about the plan your company has for expansion? what do you think about the news coverage in your local paper?
and as always i'd love to know what you think, so post your comments here!