Thinking for yourself
Thinking for yourself used to be dangerous. Run with the crowd so you don’t get picked off as easy prey. Stay in the shallows so you don’t get swept away and drown. Don’t go up the mountain or you’ll freeze. Don’t question the king or you’ll wind up in locked up in stocks feeling the scorn of the whole community.
Thinking for yourself meant death. Or worse—the psychological torture of humiliation, embarrassment, and unshakeable shame.
That’s no longer true for most of us. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re privileged to live in an environment where we have a huge amount of freedom to think for ourselves, and that changes everything. In the economy we find ourselves, where the bold ideas are the ones that win, it’s now risky not to be thinking for ourselves. We risk being mediocre. We risk being passionless. We risk being boring. We risk being dispensable.
What can we do when our instincts tell us to do the opposite of what today’s world demands?
Just start. In the safety of your own head, start allowing yourself to think things that other people would probably laugh at. It will feel weird (at first) to let go of the need for reassurance from the people around us and society at large. It will feel weird to think a thought and not know whether its “right” or “wrong”. As soon as you start thinking for yourself, you’ll soon realise that you aren’t going to get eaten by a bear or shunned from your village.
Who knows, you might even find that you’re not alone in thinking that way after all.