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Are Your Ideas Socialized?

Some of our ideas don’t come from our own thinking

When is the last time you’ve changed your mind? When’s the last time you’ve questioned a belief that you have about how life works?


I don’t mean question a belief in the sense of trying to deny the possibility of it being true. What I mean is questioning that belief to see where it came from. Did you start believing in that possibility because you were raised to believe in it or did you come to that belief through your own studies and self-reflection?


What we see as reality is in large part, a set of agreements that we make with the people around us. The reality that people experience in the United States is extremely different than that of the Dominican Republic, China, or South Africa. Just as each country has its own cultural norms made from its history, religion, and politics—the same goes for each of us. Every day our thoughts are determined from a foundation.


It’s important for an effective thinker to constantly examine the mental foundation they use to make decisions and create conclusions. If you do this on a regular basis, eventually you won’t be able to fit in just one box. You won’t be a Democrat or a Republican, a Christian, or a Buddhist. If you truly consider that your beliefs or ideas right now can be true or false (even certain nuances of these thoughts) then you’ll see that thinking that everything that you were taught is 100% correct is dangerous. 


Thinking this way prevents you from growing and changing.


Sometimes people are wrong. Whether it’s because they are being intentionally misleading, they don’t know the full picture, or they are just following the social norms they were born into—question everything. It may turn out that a majority of what you believe to be true right now actually is, but it will never be 100%. There is always something that we are wrong about, oftentimes that thought is an idea we adopted without really considering it.


Image credit: Unsplash

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