Are you thinking for yourself?

Many of us like to think of ourselves as being independent. Independent in our actions, spoken and written words as well as our thoughts. Attaining a level of independence is certainly a goal many of us have. Although getting there will require you to ultimately do something you may not be prepared to do, or well prepared for. Making decisions on your own.

When we are growing up, we need to heavily rely upon others with our decision making. Namely because we do not have enough experience to consider the potential consequences of certain decision paths. More importantly their outcomes.

Regardless of your age, think back to when you realized you were both old enough and capable enough to make a decision without having to consult with everyone around you. Everyone will have a different response. In fact, some people’s attainment might be decades apart from one another. It’s also possible, you might not have reached this level yet. Although you or others would expect you have done so. It’s OK if you are not there yet, as there are likely contributing factors as to why you have not arrived.

Seeking other people’s opinions, advice or direction is something everyone does. There are also times in our life when we should be doing this, and other times when we ourselves will have to be the one we consult with.

When we achieve the point of being able to rely upon our own judgement, sans others weighing in, consider yourself arriving at a place in life that many people struggle to get to. This applies to both work and our personal life. In fact, most of our life decisions will be far more difficult to make than our workplace ones. This is typically due to the fact there are more emotions tied into them.

Leaders of both workplace and sports teams (e.g., coaches) are accustomed to making decisions with others involved. Often, they need a consensus of opinions to make sure their final decision will serve the majority of the people impacted by the decision in a positive manner. Not always, as they too will need to make difficult, gut wrenching decisions that will negatively impact others. Naturally, no one wants to be in the position of doing this, but their role requires them to own the responsibility for doing so.

Upon considering this topic, I thought about how do people learn to become better at, and ultimately able to completely make independent decisions? If I was asked to come up with a word to do this, it would be experience. It’s unavoidable to think you can attain being able to think independently without this. The conundrum for some, and those who have struggled to get to the point where they are, and without having achieved being able to think for themselves can be altered. If they want it to be.

Let’s say you or someone you know is in need of being able to think for themselves. Even at the most basic level. Ultimately at the critical thinking level. There are steps they will need to take in order to reach this achievement, and they will need to be willing to put in the effort to get there. If they are not, they will remain in their purgatory of always relying on others to assist them with all of their decision making.

So, if you want to begin your journey of being able to think for yourself, or help someone else do this, below are some suggestions I have for you to consider.

  • What is your favorite color? I’m sure you were able to answer this without consulting with someone. Ultimately you want to be able to reach a point where you won’t have to consult with someone with more difficult decisions to make.
  • Think of your favorite hobby you do when you have spare time. One that is family friendly. How did you determine this hobby was something you enjoyed doing? It was likely introduced or suggested to you at some point. Then you determined you made this decision to continue doing it. Perhaps because it provided you with some type of benefit (e.g., it was relaxing, artistic, helped someone else).
  • We all make numerous decisions on a daily basis. Try challenging yourself to see if you can make half of your decisions without consulting someone else on them. Ultimately work up to one hundred percent over a self-determined time line.
  • Consider a difficult decision you recently made, and that you conferred with someone about. Could you have made the decision without them? If not, what were the factors that contributed to you needing input from this person?
  • Are you challenging yourself or not challenging yourself enough to create opportunities for you to practice independent decision making? If you do not have enough challenging opportunities, is it due to a factor you have stopped to think about why this is the case? For many, it’s fear of failure. Or, ironically, perhaps fear of succeeding.

Eventually everyone will reach the point of being able to think for themselves. Especially if they are aware of this as a goal they wish to attain. Even if it is much later in your life than you think it should be.

We all reach different achievement milestones at the time which serves us best, and based on our life experiences which contribute to them. My hope is that you will reach this goal if you desire to do so. If not, that’s your decision. However, I will tell you, your career and life can be extraordinarily more rewarding when you reach this achievement.

Tags: #Business #Critical Thinking #Decision Making #Success #Work #Thinking for yourself #Independent thinking