Thinking For Yourself
Thinking for yourself means finding yourself, finding your own reality. Here’s the other problem with Facebook and Twitter and even The New York Times. When you expose yourself to those things, especially in the constant way that people do now—older people as well as younger people—you are continuously bombarding yourself with a stream of other people’s thoughts. You are marinating yourself in the conventional wisdom. In other people’s reality: for others, not for yourself. You are creating a cacophony in which it is impossible to hear your own voice, whether it’s yourself you’re thinking about or anything else. - William Deresiewicz, Solitude and Leadership
When the George Floyd protests happened back in May, my social media feeds were flooded with commentaries and hot takes on police brutality and race relations in America. I myself read many of these pieces. One reason was to educate myself, but another reason, though I may of hesitated to admit this at the time, was because I didn’t know how to react. I’d read these commentaries, take these opinions and rephrase them in conversation masquerading other people’s opinions as my own.
When any major world event happens, the first thing I do is check Twitter. However the issue is that I’m being “continuously bombarded with a stream of other people’s thoughts. And marinating myself in the conventional wisdom” as Deresiewicz puts it. I’m not allowing my own voice to be heard.
This applies not only to major world events but really anything. One thing I’ve gained from writing everyday is that it forces me to think for myself everyday. When I write I challenge my ideas, opinions, thoughts. I ask myself questions like: Where did this come from? What does it mean? Do I truly agree with it or not?
So not only is it important to have empty space in my schedule where I can think but also limit my information diet. I don’t need to be scroll on Twitter, read every newsletter, or listen to every podcast. I don’t need to constantly surround myself with the opinions of others, but instead take that time to think for myself.