Have you ever wondered where your thoughts come from? I used to wonder all the time. Fact is, your initial thoughts about everything you experience in your life come from two sources:
1. Physical Heredity – The nature and character of the generations that preceded you have some influence on your thought habits. You may have been born with a predominantly rigid or free-floating thinking process, which is also refered to as being “right-brained” or “left brained.” Right brained people emphasize details, left brained people emphasize broad schemes. Your thinking has the power to modify, strengthen, and direct both sides even though one will be stronger than the other.
2. Social Heredity – Your enviromental influences, education, and expereince all are social stimuli. Thinking is most influenced by these things, and that is dangerous because it means that much of your thought process is inspired by others. However, you can take action to control and select who and what influences you. For instance, you might get influence from reading a book.
As an example, most people embrace a religion, a certain political party, even select the type of car they drive not because they have given a lot of thought to it, but because of the influence of the people around them: friends, relatives, and acquaintances.
But if you truly want to mature as an adult and become your own thinker, you will not actually choose a political, religous or any other type of thought, regardless of its source, without first carefully analyzing it. This very thing is what the entire marketing world concentrates on to win your business and your money. For instance, if I asked you what the best store in America for women’s lingerie is, what would you answer? I can almost guarantee that “Victoria’s Secret” is what you’re thinking right now. But why? Is it because their stuff really is the best and you have proof of it or is it because you can’t even think of another mainstream lingerie store? This is a perfect example of your social hereditary influences taking over. You’ve been marketed and socially programmed to think lingerie = Victoria’s Secret.
However, if you went and did your own research to find out why you think that, then and only then will you accept those thoughts of your own free will. When you do this, the thoughts and resulting decisions will be of much greater value to you personally.
The point here is not that I care what clothes you wear, what politcal party or religion you are, but that as you start to analyze and make educated thought decisions in your life from here out, that you really understand why you are making those decisions. You can’t just say “I’m from St. Louis, so I must be a conservative!” Or I’m from the south so I’m a baptist.” These are thoughts that are determined by environment and not personal choice. A good example of an educated thought decision would be,”Yes I do go to Harvard, but not because I want to be considered one of the “smart kids.” I found out that their law school had one of the top programs in the country for criminal defense which is exactly what I want to practice professionally. After reviewing all the other schools that offered it, I found that their program offered the most beneficial education for that specific practice”
Be willing and ready to scrutinize all the information you encounter, especially if it comes from the media. You have to realize that some things contain facts that are colored, modified, or exaggerated, either intentionally or carelessly. You must rely on your own judgement and be cautious no matter who is trying to influence you. When you do, your decisions will become clearer, better and you’ll take more personal pride in what you value and stand for.