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Are you a free thinker?

Episode 419
Wildly Successful Lifestyle

LISTEN TO: Are you a free thinker?

Hi guys! Welcome to Episode 419 of the Wildly Successful Lifestyle podcast!
How’s it going out there? I hope this finds you healthy and happy and living the best life you can….I hope you’re breaking a few rules here and there. I hope you’re living an extraordinary life.

One thing that growing up in a religion that requires strict adherence to rules and requires that you believe what they tell you without questioning it because the leaders speak for God basically so if you question them you’re questioning God. One thing that will do for you if you have the courage to think for yourself in spite of being raised that way, is you are not easily swayed by other people’s opinions. I also do not look to other people to decide what I am going to think, I go with my gut usually and that so far has done me well. Often times when a majority of the people around us think one way, we feel like we should think that way too or something is wrong with us or we fear that they wont like us if we go against the grain. But that is a dangerous path because the majority can be easily swayed. And if you go against your own inner guidance system to follow the pack, you may feel like part of the crowd but you lose respect for yourself a little bit every time you do it. I grew up sort of bucking the system and I haven’t grown out of that and I hope I never do. The exception to that is my husband, because he is just so wise, so if he feels strongly about something, it’s going to have me thinking extra hard about it, which is a good thing. Honestly he’s kept me out of trouble a few times.

One time I felt strongly about taking my doggies at the time to the off leash dog park so they could run free. They were king charles cavaliers and they were fast and not so great with other dogs but in my mind they craved being able to run free. So as Im loading them up in the car to go, Eric my husband is getting ready as well and I said oh are you coming with us? Yes, he said, which I wasn’t too excited about because he does tend to curb our fun. I mean that in a good way, you’ll see. So off we go and we get to the park and Im getting them out of the car and I go to take their leashes off and Eric says what are you doing? And I said well it’s an off leash park so Im taking their leashes off. He said they aren’t off leash dogs because they don’t listen to you and you have no idea what other dogs are out here, by this time I’m almost in tears because I so wanted them to run free and it wasn’t looking like that was going to happen now that he was with us. So we start walking and Im letting them walk with the leash all the way out, it’s one of those leashes that retract and go out quite a ways….so they are a ways in front of us…. So we round the first corner and our of nowhere there are 4 maybe 5 pit pulls off leash and Jack and Jasper my cavaliers start to lose their mind trying to get after these pit bulls. Fortunately they were on a leash so I was able to reign them in quickly and I grabbed Jack up and Eric picks up Jasper and the pit bulls are not really interested in them, they seemed friendly but who knows what would have happened if my dogs had of ran up to them rabidly barking like they wanted to do. Crisis averted. So now in my mind I’m like ok, that was close, IM glad they were on a leash, then we round the next corner and I still had them tight on their leash well all of a sudden they both take off again and I realized this time, they spotted a pond, it wasn’t a nice blue glistening pond it was a mud pit, literal mud pit. They love the water and had they not been on a leash they would be neck deep in mud right now. And bonus we didn’t have towels nothing for that to happen. 2nd crisis averted. So by now, Im pretty upset with myself because were it not for Eric, I don’t know that that day would have ended well. I can be persuasive when Im really trying and Eric is never swayed if It means someone he loves could be in danger usually that’s me but this time it was our babies. So that made big impression on me. I could tell you 10 of those stories probably where his level headedness kept us, mainly me out of trouble. So when you trust someone’s advice, listening to them is not not thinking for yourself, it’s actually thinking for yourself because you’re evolving you. You’re growing, you’re expanding your mind.

Growing up the way I did in a very religious family, I learned that thinking for myself got me in trouble with the religion because they wanted strict adherence regardless of what you thought. But, I also learned quickly that you have to be able to think for yourself in order to truly respect yourself. Otherwise people will run right over you. If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything, right? Alexander Hamilton is one of the originators of that phrase..and Im grateful for his wisdom. But on the flip side of that is Wayne Dyer’s idea that one should “Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing” ok, Im also drawn to that.

Now, I have noticed that I can be swayed by something Im reading or watching as well as by someone I love or trust like Eric especially because Ive seen how wise and logical his decisions usually are. So we can be swayed. Most of us can be. But I also notice that when I strongly believe one thing and someone comes at me with a different opinion on the topic, I notice at first Im a little put off…..ok that’s human but am I open to really hearing a difference in opinion? Really hear it? Im actively working on that.

I am actively working on being open to listening to opinions I don’t think I agree with. My friend Leena sent me a podcast episode the other day and the title was on Universal Basic Income. Im not a big fan of that idea because I think it discourages people from wanting to work. But I listened to the episode with an open mind and It made me feel good thinking about what they’re trying to do, and if done by the private sector, I could get on board with that….in certain circumstances. So I came out of that seeing a different perspective and it did soften my stance a bit, but I still don’t think it would work large scale because someone has to pay for it. I didn’t feel at all the way I thought I would while listening to the episode. It expanded my mindset about it and for that I’m grateful. I now can see it more as altruism than just enabling laziness, which is how I’ve seen it in the past.

So thinking for yourself doesn’t mean you never change your mind, thinking for yourself often involves an evolving of ideas. I read a post once that said that if you don’t look back at some of the things you used to believe and cringe a little, are you even growing? If you’ve attached yourself so strongly to an idea that you identify with it, like your identity is tied to it, now when someone has a different opinion, you feel attacked. And I think that’s where so many of us are right now especially with politics. Due to algorithms dictating what we see, so that we only see what we want to see, our beliefs almost become a religion, that requires strict adherence because it’s so ingrained in us because that’s all we are allowed to see, fortunately I grew up this way and am sensitive to that happening. I’ll give you a good example. Jan 6th is a hot topic for both sides of the aisle. One side thinks it was an insurrection and the other side thinks it was a group of patriots walking peacefully through the capital with no real violence at all. Now to be transparent, I was on the side of the peaceful patriots and then I saw a couple videos that they recently allowed out and it was definitely more violent than I had thought but a lot less violent than the left wanted to say. That opened my eyes a bit. Both sides are manipulating the story to fit their own narrative. This is why it’s so important to only allow yourself to be swayed if you knowingly trust the source. And if all else fails, you have to go with your gut. But just remember your strong beliefs if they come from the news or the internet may not be your beliefs at all they may be someone else’s that you’ve just heard over and over. We all have to be open to that idea anymore because of social media. We are better off when we think for ourselves and allow our ideas to evolve as we learn new information.

When did being able to listen to opposing ideas without having a come apart stop being a thing? I was talking to a friend the other day and she said when she was younger democrats and republicans were friends and you just had different ideas of how to make things better. That sounds nice and I think we can get back to that. We just have to stop listening to unreliable, sources who’s main goal is to sow division and chaos for money. We are going to have differences but that doesn’t mean we have to hate them. Heck we have differences with our own self!

I’m reading a book right now that is on human behavior and why we do what we do. The author talks about the dichotomies that we each live with. So in himself he says he has strong feelings about the need for gun control but at the same time he loves movies where guns play a big role, he loves to watch those violent movies where guns are front and center. This is a dichotomy he lives with.

I believe we all have those. I know I do. I have strong opinions about things. I think it’s extremely unfair for men to be allowed to play in women’s sports. I think it is ridiculous that we even entertain the idea… AND I know people that are trans that I really like and they probably think very differently from me in that area. That’s a dichotomy for me. But just because they think a certain way doesn’t mean I don’t have lots of other things in common with them. It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy their company because I do, we just don’t align on that topic. My husband and I don’t align on everything either but that doesn’t stop me from loving him….We don’t align on shopping and we aren’t probably going to, I love it and could do it all day, he does not and probably never will. That’s ok though, because that’s not something I have to do with him. We recently were in Nashville with my little sister and her husband..we had plans to go shopping for the day when Mollys husband looked at Eric and said would you rather go shooting instead of shopping? Eric got a big smile on his face and said “YES”. Molly and I just looked at each other and smiled…win win for everyone. They got to do something fun for them and we got to spend an hour and a half in the fabric store picking fabric for her lumbar pillow. That would have never happened had they been with us. See you don’t have to align with every single thing in order to love someone or even just like them. It’s more fun even and interesting when people do have different ideas from you. It does add spice and not only that it adds growth. We want growth.

My point of this episode is thinking for yourself is multi faceted. It doesn’t mean you dig in and are hard headed about your beliefs. It means you’re open and interested in all ideas but you use your inner guidance system to tell you which to believe and which not to believe. It’s ok to stand for what you believe in as long as you truly believe it, it’s also ok to pivot if you find that what you thought wasn’t exactly right after all. The smartest people I know are willing to listen to opinions that don’t align with theirs, they are open to changing their mind if need be and admitting when they’re wrong but they also don’t mind standing up for what they believe in. They also aren’t afraid to follow their gut even if it means the crowd turns against you.

My challenge for you is to be a free thinker, just because the crowd or the majority says it, doesn’t make it true…always look for your own inner guidance system when making big decisions. If your gut is sending up red flags…there’s a reason. Don’t ignore them. Having respect for yourself is more important than being liked by someone else. Share this with all the free thinkers in your life. I love you guys I’ll talk to you in a few days.

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