How To Protect An Independent Mind

I bet you think a lot. Beyond the absent-minded mental to-do list. Away from the monotony of a repetitive 9-5. Your mind is as vast as the galaxies we have yet to discover. Am I right? What a coincidence! Me too. Always thinking of patterns, solutions, and what ifs. Reading, watching, and listening for knowledge, entertainment, and pleasure.

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Let’s talk about the part of our minds that deals with opinion. Where you form your opinions and interact with others opinions. From news, to culture, to education, regardless if you prefer digital or printed media, we all now filter our reality. We tend to gravitate toward sources we agree with and mute voices we disagree with. As convenient as these filters are, I think they are gradually hindering our ability to consider an alternative perspective.

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I love this quote by Aristotle, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” We could probably add an independent mind to that list. How can we entertain alternative thoughts if we filter out everything we disagree with? How can we engage with intellectual dialogue if we cannot tolerate an alternative opinion? The key to protecting an independent mind is maintaining a balance between your beliefs and alternative opinions. The best way to do that is to enhance your knowledge, pay attention to your reaction to alternative opinions, and be aware of how you interact with yours and others opinions.

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You have to be informed. Take the time to find and follow sources of information that resonate with you, but are also credible. Do research beyond headlines and memes. I know the history of so many random things of life. Have I used any of it? Not all, but I am sure it will come in handy.

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You need to see value in others view points. Regardless if you are the most exceptional mind in the room, unless you are giving a lecture, you should not be quick to label others perspective as incorrect. Enjoy exploring how other people think. Take the time to understand how they formed their opinions. There is no reason to feel defensive with someone who disagrees with you. No one is attacking you. Well, unless they are attacking you, then it is their loss.

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You should know the difference between discussion and debate. This one can get a little tricky. Discussion can be lighthearted or heavy or a combination of both. It is a give and take experience where we share stories, advice, and insight. People do not have to agree with each other during a discussion. What makes the dialogue continue in discussion form or transform into a debate is how you deal with the disagreement. In a discussion, everyone can voice their different opinions and learn from each other. In a debate, everyone takes a different stand and competitively opposes each other. To avoid the feeling of being attacked, try to keep the discussion going.

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What do you do to protect your independent mind? Let me know in the comments below. Also, remember to connect with me on Twitter and Instagram. I would love to hear from you.

Wearing: New York & Company blouse; Marshalls skirt; Michael Kors shoes

Photography: Sofia Emm

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4 thoughts on “How To Protect An Independent Mind

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