Our world view (and most opinions) are based on the Company we keep. In short, the media we consume (books, tv, internet, social media) and the people around us (friends, family, mentors, colleagues, neighbours).
And more often than we realize, our world-view is mostly a simple mashup of the opinions, principles, world-views of our Company without us actually analysing them, filtering them, connecting them to our existing understanding to form independent views. Because it’s easier, we simply accept the way others think and adopt them as our own.
This approach leads us astray when facing unique circumstances. Because our mind is rusty (without independent thinking muscle power), it gets bewildered, it seeks guidance, a framework to use as a crutch, a reference to think correctly.
Good news is that independent thinking is like a muscle; it can be developed if exercised properly.
The exercises are:
1. Listen without judgement.
2. Seek out the trunk, not the leaves.
Trunk and branches first, then leaves
Building a solid foundation to base our world-view is important. The internet is full of deep, highly focused topics (consider them as leaves of a tree). If we seek the leaves, they won’t have any branch or trunk to stand on. They will blow off at the slightest force of a breeze.
Instead if we seek out knowledge that’s basic, that forms the core understanding of why & how things function the way they function. That’s the tree trunk and the solid main branches.
Without it, seeking leaves is like learning by rote or memorizing frameworks.
Don’t take my word for it. Think about it. 😉
Cover photo by Ben Sweet