How To Figure Things Out For Yourself

Published: 03rd August 2007
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When you let others determine too much of your life for you, you miss out on what makes that life worth living. Being an individual means being able to think things out for yourself, and decide the best course of action to take. You alone have lived your life, and you alone have the right to determine how to continue living it.



There are many, many different ways people can try to manipulate you. Advertisements tell you where to shop, what to buy, what you need to fit in, be cool, and stay up to date. Your boss tells you what to do at work. Teachers tell you how to behave, what to know, and how to think. Your friends and family tell you who to be, and how to never become someone other than the person they see you as. You must make up your mind never to completely give in to the world's orders, because once you do that, you lose yourself.



It is extremely useful to rely on the advice and encouragement of others. But that's as far as it should go. When someone tells the President to do something, he can say, "I'll take that under advisement." So should you. Every command you hear, you should consider, without thinking you must automatically follow it. Someone says, "Do this." Instead of, "OK," you think, "Should I? Is this the best course of action for me? How will this affect others? What are the consequences? What will my doing this mean in an hour? In a day? In a year?" Only after you've evaluated whether the command is worth following should you do it, if that is what you choose.



The basic idea here is that you should treat every command as a piece of advice. Someone tells you to do something, and then it's up to you to decide whether to comply. Mindless obedience will only get you so far in life. When you shut off your brain and rely solely on the many mandates of others, you lose part of your ability to think. Some day, when no one will help you make a decision, you'll need that thinking ability. If you weren't using it all along, you won't know what to do.



It can be easy for the world to tell you how to behave, but even easier for it to suddenly go silent and let you wallow in indecision. The only way to ensure you'll be ready is to take every order under advisement, and think things through each time. When you do that, you'll be better prepared to make vital choices when no one else can.


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