Friday, January 21, 2011

Independent Thinking

During my last blog post, I began by speaking about an event I attended with a friend, Oz Whitesell. On our way, Oz and I started talking about the public school system. Oz worked as a school teacher for 10 years, so I was eager to hear his thoughts.

Today I'll be exploring a topic that he brought to my attention during this conversation: Independent Thinking. How much does our school system prepare us to become independent thinkers? In our society, who is accepted? Those who follow or those who choose to act on their own individual, unbiased thoughts?

I recall sitting in Mr. Mitchell's Social Studies class in 9th grade. Going a bit off topic, he brought up a realistic scenario - he asked, "When the bell rings in 10 minutes, what will you do?"

What would you have thought? -- Well, we're gonna get up, talk to our friends while we head to our locker, grab our books, and go to the next class. Right?

Right! But what could your answer have been? You could stay in your seat and get your thoughts in order, you could leave the school, you could go to a different class; really the possibilities are endless. It's up to you, isn't it?

Ok, so what are the consequences for choosing differently then most? You're late for your next class, you miss time with friends, you could get detention.  Or, what if you time it out right? You are more prepared for the next class, you don't get involved with gossip that day, and your head is clearer and ready for what you're learning next.

So, what do you think happened when the bell rang? Ask yourself: If the rest of your class sat there, would you get up and leave? If your class got up, would you have stayed? What would an independent thinker do?

I'm not sure I was personally ready to think independently. But, I do remember that a large majority of my class went on their way as usual. This is where peer-pressure sets in; you still look around and see what others are doing, and you do it. I stayed for a few moments with a few of my peers, but nonetheless, it was time to go.

To be able to think independently you need to practice, it is an ability that many of us have not learned. It isn't always the most accepted. To this day, can we think independently? We still market as others do; we still get on Social Media and follow what others say. What can make us stand out?

Here are some of the ways I will start developing my independent thought:
  • Research others belief systems, religion, politics, theories, etc. Find about their culture, the history, and see why these have become their beliefs.
  • Listen to music, any and all music. Try something new and random. 
  • Turn off the TV and experience life! 
  • Read. Explore your personal thoughts. Design a picture in your mind with the characters. 
  • Write. Put your thoughts on paper, get them out of your head. It's the best way to hold onto your ideas.
  • Push yourself. Get involved in things that are unfamiliar, that scare you. 
  • Stop believing what others say. They might be right, but think harder. Disprove your theories, their theories, keep brainstorming.
Find out more in this article: 5 Ways to Develop Independent Thought. 

No comments:

Post a Comment