I made a list of things to do on Saturday (things I would happily pay an assistant to do!) and—guess what?—I didn’t do any of those things. The dry cleaners, the post office, the grocery store will all have to wait. Of course, I’m only spiting myself. I didn’t do these errands on Saturday and they still have to get done. Now it looks like I’ll have to make these stops every night this week on the way home from work. What was I thinking?
Clearly, I was thinking about myself. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If I don’t think about myself, who will?
Okay, Google, find think about yourself. All kinds of results are shown about thinking for yourself. In my mind, about and for in this instance mean two completely different things. And never mind adding of into the mix!
Thinking about yourself is a form of internal bragging or self-awareness. I feel fine. I want pizza. I need a vacation. I’m thirsty.
Thinking for yourself is vastly different. Socrates said “To find yourself, think for yourself.” Thinking for yourself may cause independence and happiness. Being surrounded by media and internet input 24/7, we are often under so many external influences that it can be difficult to recognize when we are thinking for ourselves. You need to be very aware in order to realize that thinking may sometimes not be your own.
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
We can certainly form our own views using some outside influences; it’s not all bad. But we must be able to think for ourselves and not be an exact duplicate of someone else. We are born into cultures where the norms and customs are already established. (If your mother liked broccoli, chances are you will too.) Likely, we have little choice but to conform to what is established in our little world.
We can all have our own ideas and be original, and we don’t have to be argumentative just to be defiant or stand out. To think for yourself means that whatever opinions you hold will be well thought out and come from a position of investigation and thoughtful analysis.
At our age, I’m sure we already think for ourselves, and maybe we need to do so more often. Be aware of your 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. That makes you unique!
Information overload can sometimes make it hard to 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.
Choose your information sources carefully. Identify possible biases. Are you being unduly influenced by your culture, upbringing or other people’s opinions? Are you being fair and open-minded? Do not buckle under pressure, fear, or guilt. Have the courage to stand up for what you really believe and have concluded 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.
You may think for yourself, but how often do you think about yourself?