Human thought process follows a pattern.
We become what we consistently feed our minds or what our environment, the people close to us, and our close connections think are the best ways to make a decision, take action and behave.
Even our moral and ethical values are defined by what we repeatedly expose ourselves to. We don’t choose who we become for a greater part of our lives.
But then at some point when you are old enough to question your thought processes, beliefs, perspectives and knowledge about the world, you can choose to question what you already know to be the only truth or reality.
That’s the beauty of choosing to follow your intellectual curiosity or choosing to question your thought patterns or processes. You begin to understand the extent of your own ignorance.
It’s mind-blowing, especially if you explore topics you deeply care about and dig deeper into questions you don’t understand.
Thinking freely is the ability to objectively think about beliefs, facts, opinions, arguments and worldviews you already know without getting attached to them. And learning new ones without prejudice.
Free thinking is also the conscious effort to improve your thought processes or finding common blind spots in your reasoning with the aim of making better judgements, reducing your blindspots or avoiding illogical reasoning.
Leo Tolstoy explains, “Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.”
It’s an attempt to develop your own mental mastery by exploring new knowledge, ideas, mental models, principles in all areas of life. It’s a path worth pursuing if you are interested in becoming a better version of yourself.
But thinking objectively, logically and analytically is a challenging process, which is why many people rely on the same models (that have probably not served them well) they are used for a very long time but somehow they expect their lives to turn out differently or better.
In Thinking to some purpose, L. Susan Stebbing argued that “Thinking is a tiring process; it is much easier to accept beliefs passively than to think them out, rigorously questioning their grounds by asking what are the consequences that follow from them.”
If you use the same principles to guide your decision-making process, don’t expect your life to turn out differently.
Think on purpose
Freethinkers tend to question conventional wisdom or the beliefs that have been passed down for generations. They may not necessarily find answers to their deep question, but the process improves their capacity to think.
They have a curious mindset about how things are explained or why things work the way they do. People who know how to think freely tend to explore other realities that explain what they already know.
Freethinkers are sceptical about the way things have always been done or explained. They prefer to find answers for themselves. Their intellectual curiosity helps them learn more about a lot of topics.
They question “ knowledge” no matter the source. And maintain the scientific mindset that leads to amazing discoveries except they apply what they find in their reasoning to improve how they think or work.
“A believer is a bird in a cage, a freethinker is an eagle parting the clouds with tireless wing, says Robert Green Ingersoll.
Thinking freely can help you make better, smarter and rational (subjective) choices in life and career. A new perspective in life can open up new opportunities to become a well-informed human.
Free thinking makes it easy to rise above the limitations of society and explore unknown territories. Freethinkers are the reason we have better tools, technology, systems, patterns and principles for making progress in the shortest possible time.
“To be a free thinker means forever seeking relief from assumptions, whether it’s those we’ve made or have been given to us, and to work towards beliefs and ideas of our own choosing,” writes Scott Burkin.
One of the biggest hurdles of freethinking is conformity. Even the smartest people are prone to conform to what society expects of them if they don’t consistently question their own beliefs or assumptions.
The human brain is subject to psychological limitations until you deliberately intercept its thinking patterns. We are all psychologically biased and favour information that confirms what we already know.
So the only way to overcome your own biases is to consciously question the knowledge for life or career that has been passed on for generations. That’s how you find even disconfirming knowledge that can improve your life.
Don’t accept opinions, comments, facts, theories, beliefs and perceptions without thinking deeply about their impact on your next decision, your life, career or the people close to you.
Ask yourself better questions and be curious about ideas that affect every area of your life. Become a lifelong learner because your next life-changing decision depends on it.
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