Independent Thinking

Lately, I have been thinking quite a bit about knowledge-based labour markets, where you are often rewarded by providing creative solutions to difficult and dated problems. It’s interesting how essentially the value of an idea is increasing, but the notion of thinking for yourself is becoming less common. Most people base their thoughts from the information that was provided to them, rather than question those insights and then spend time developing their own unique perspective.

My definition of independent thinking is: thinking outside the box, not depending on the authority of others to form an opinion, questioning old assumptions, classifying information on an “as is basis”, and developing your own thoughts towards that.

In today’s society, the digital generation, independent thinking is becoming more and more of a rarity, which means that it has also become much more valuable. Conscientious information is now only a few clicks away, which can be served as a solid tactic is to try and synthesize one’s own experiences, then reflect, refine, develop, and then articulating their thoughts towards any type of subject you are interested in.

It’s more valuable to share honest and raw thoughts, and accept potentially being wrong, rather than reading the thoughts of others and using that to make an informed argument — other’s opinions should be used as a base for building your own judgement.

More often than not, school impacts the way one thinks — you are told to comply with the system, rather than act on your own curiosity and develop your own perspectives. Motivation is often shaped by social groups, which means we often accept the dominate view as-is as we fear to countersignal and be outcasted from our group — which is likely why industries are often changed from those who are on the outside, as they are not limited by those existing beliefs and norms, and are able to question assumptions with fresh eyes and beginners minds. A huge advantage.

Experts in any field are now similar to API’s — you can research some of the best people to have ever lived (in documented history), and hear their thoughts on almost everything if you spend the time and have the motivation, without actually being there. We now consume an insane amount of information in this day and age (on average, each day we receive more information than your average person in the early 1900s would receive in their entire lifetime), but we don’t have the time to reflect on any of that information, and I think the former is much more important. That is where you really learn.

We should be thinking about how to improve our lives and society as a whole based on our experiences, rather than going with the grain of social acceptance, which is still the norm.

If there could be a meaning to life, it might be to make a difference, and the best way we can do that is to use our thoughts to make the world a better place — even if our thoughts are only read by a few people (like you are doing here in this post, right now!)

Thanks for your time.

- Dylan