Why Making Independent Decisions Is Crucial for SUccess
To think independently, you have to follow your intuition above anything else.
There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet. A lot of people you speak to in real life will offer you contradicting opinions. It requires a certain level of independence to filter through the information to discover what works for you.
Here’s a list of some areas where independent thinking is necessary:
Your passion and interests
Your personal growth
There will be many times when you are stuck with a problem in one of these areas that you don’t know how to fix. When you’re stuck with a problem, the first step is to search for a solution. The solution could be advice on the internet, in a book or from someone you know.
The crucial step that a lot of people miss is what comes after you receive that advice. The best way to approach this is to think independently about the advice that has been offered to you. Thinking independently means that you cross-reference the advice with your intuition.
If this is an area where you don’t have much knowledge, then you’ll need to do more research or ask more people. Then, once you feel you have sufficient knowledge, you can cross-reference the advice with your intuition to find the right solution.
The effect of following advice blindly
Blindly following the advice of another person can lead to bad results. Other people can offer you valuable advice, but it’s not guaranteed to be that way. Everybody is different, so what works for someone else isn’t guaranteed to work for you. It’s important to remember this whenever you’re listening to someone’s advice.
What Is Their Level of Expertise?
You should always think about how qualified the person is to be offering you advice. If someone is offering you relationship advice, do they have an amazing relationship with their partner? If someone is offering you career advice, how well do they know your industry? But even if they do have the necessary credentials, you have to consider a few things before following their advice.
We all have different strengths and weaknesses. If someone is offering you advice in an area that they’re more experienced in, their advice might not be suitable for you. Their advice might work for them, but they’re more advanced than you in this specific area.
If you’re just starting at the gym as a beginner and you’re asking an experienced weightlifter for advice, their advice might be too advanced for a beginner. If they first started training 10 years ago, they might not even remember what their first year in the gym was like.
This will be difficult for them to give you accurate advice because they’re disconnected from how beginners train. So it would be more valuable to get advice from a personal trainer. They are regularly training beginners, so their advice will be designed for that purpose.
Generic Advice vs Specific Advice
When you’re receiving advice for free, it’s not advice tailored to your specific needs. You’re receiving advice that is based on what has worked in the other person’s experience. It doesn’t mean that you’ll experience the same results if you follow that advice. Although, just because someone has relevant experience, that doesn’t guarantee that they will offer you great advice.
Remember that everyone is different. We’re all motivated by different things; we all have different preferences and ways of doing things. So what might work for a personal trainer and ten other clients that they train, won’t always work for you.
So how do you work out whether you should follow someone’s advice or not? You work it out through independent thinking. Rather than following somebody’s advice because it’s someone you trust or because they have relevant experience, you should follow their advice because you’ve concluded that it’s solid advice to follow.
Trial and Error
People are reluctant to use trial and error to establish a solution. They want to find good advice and then follow it step by step to eventually reach a goal. A step-by-step guide is appealing because it removes a lot of emotional labour involved in accomplishing a goal. If you’re following a guide, you have a sense of direction on what to do at each stage. This removes a lot of fear, doubt, and uncertainty that comes with pursuing something independently.
But for the reasons listed above, a step-by-step guide isn’t practical in the real world. There are too many variables that can influence your success, and success is specific to each individual. Since success is different for everyone, no one can map out the correct route for you because their route will lead to a different direction than yours.
You might share some common goals, but there will be a fork in the road where the routes separate at some point. If you just follow their advice blindly, you’ll follow their goals rather than your own. This is why you have to assess each step to ensure that the advice is taking you on the correct path.
Sometimes you will accidentally follow bad advice, and it’ll take you off your path. That’s not a problem as long as you continue to think independently. You’ll realise you went off track, and then it’ll be a quick turnaround to get back on the right path.
No matter how good the advice, you won’t truly know if it works for you until you’ve tested it out yourself. This is where independent thinking comes in. To be successful in any field, you have to become good at assessing for yourself what to follow and to ignore. Once you’ve considered what to follow, you need to test that out to see if it generates the results you were expecting.
Do you want a pre-planned solution?
Having to pick out relevant advice and then testing it sounds like a lot of effort compared to finding advice that you can just follow systematically. But have you considered what type of results a step-by-step guide will lead to?
By the nature of a guide being easy and convenient, other people will be interested in following this advice. If everyone else is following this advice, you’re just going to generate average results for yourself. Step-by-step advice is like the low-hanging fruit that anyone can acquire. However, if you want to create an extraordinary life, you have to aim higher than average.
Anyone that has achieved anything great in their life, that accomplishment never came from following step-by-step advice. It came from tons of independent thinking. Even if you could use a step-by-step guide to get the results you wanted, would you be satisfied with this? You would be living a standardised life that is the same as everyone else’s.
Compare this to taking the independent approach and putting in the effort to create a unique and completely customised life. Your vision for what you want out of life is going to be unique to you. This is why it’s essential to collect a variety of advice and then adapt it to your specific needs.
Becoming More Confident
When you practice independent thinking, you become grounded in your decisions. Independent thinking will significantly improve your self-confidence because you feel sure about the decisions you’ve made. You also feel sure about yourself.
If you think back to when you felt certain about something, try to recall how that certainty made you feel. This could be a cause you were passionate about or a goal you had a strong desire to accomplish.
When you feel certain about something, it doesn’t matter what other people say and do because you’ve got a clear sense of direction. Independent thinking encourages you to stand up for your beliefs. You’re not held back by distractions or discouraged by obstacles because you’re pursuing something meaningful. This is the same confidence that you will create for yourself when you become an independent thinker.
Becoming More Proactive
Independent thinking will drastically improve your efficiency for breaking bad habits and limiting beliefs because it forces you to expand your mind to all possibilities.
If you’re a junior employee of a company and someone asks you to make a decision, you might take a care-free approach. If you were the owner of a company and you had to make a decision, you would go to great lengths to ensure you had assessed all the information properly. You wouldn’t rely on one source of data to make your decision or assume that what someone told you is correct. You would cross-check everything.
Being a company owner, you have to be open-minded to ensure you have considered all possible angles. Business requires you to be open-minded and adaptable. Being stubborn and set in your ways will lead to failure in any industry. Independent thinking is like being the owner of a company, except you’re the owner of your life. You take full responsibility for it, and you use all of your resources to collect the most useful information possible.
One of the biggest traps that hinder people’s personal growth is getting stuck in belief systems and ideologies. It takes a long time to break out of bad habits and limiting beliefs because of this.
Independent thinking prompts you to open your mind to new possibilities. As a result, you’ll become a lot quicker at identifying and changing things that negatively impact your personal growth. Being proactive like this is one of the best ways to optimise your personal development results. You can identify things quickly because you’re open to new ideas and ways of doing things.
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