If you want to discover truth, it is a good idea to take a look at yourself first. I actually don’t mean this in the same way that people say, “Just listen to your heart” but in a different way entirely. You see, if you want to make decisions and carry beliefs based on what your heart tells you to do, essentially based on how you feel, you are free to do so. But, this is not an accurate or efficient way to figure out what is true. For example, if I feel like slapping my friend in the face is the right thing to do, that doesn’t make it the right thing to do. This seems like a really simple concept that most adults should understand, and some of you are probably reading this thinking, ‘thank you for explaining this really elementary concept that I already knew’. But bear with me.
I would like to point out that even though many of us know that making emotional decisions is inefficient, a lot of our regularly used vernacular is contradictory to this notion. Often times we say, “just do what you feel is right”, “you have to do what’s right for you”, or “go with your gut”. And while these are perfectly acceptable answers when asking simpler questions like, “What flavor should I put in my latte?” these are not the best answers when asking bigger life questions.
The issue is that even when we have education, we don’t always have tools for application, and we are more prone to basing our behavior off of what is regularly modeled for us over what is best for us. So, since we live in a society (here in America) that generally values independence, personal opinions, and self-confidence, we are likely to make decisions and process information based on how we value these ideas, and how we watch other people make decisions based on these values.
When you know all of this, it really takes the magic out of that old saying, “trust your instincts”…
If we can’t always trust our own instincts, then what do we do? We look at the best available information. And if we know that making decisions, processing information, and finding truth are better accomplished using the best available data rather than our emotions, how do we apply this concept to our lives?
By practicing critical thinking regularly!
If you want to know more about this click here: “Sometimes It Pays to Be Critical”
Okay, so, back to my original statement, “If you want to discover truth, it is a good idea to take a look at yourself first.” What I mean is, starting with a little self-examination is helpful in the process of searching for what is true.
If we do a little self-analysis we can better determine:
– Our personal biases
– What influences our thinking, choices, and beliefs
– Factors that might inhibit an accurate perception of information
– Positive steps we have already taken on our journey to find truth
-Areas that need more practice or improvement
This is the first of a series of Keynote Articles that are revolved around ideas involving self-reflection and observation of our surroundings. These articles are a part of a project called “The Enthusiastic Agnostic”; the objective of this project is to explore important issues in spirituality and science and create awareness about them, you know, for fun. I also make Youtube videos for this project, which you can find here.
Image courtesy of Lauren Larsen 16thandmarket