Think Before You Think

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There’s plenty to opine about. But are your opinions automatic? Is your mind open to the other side of an issue? Do you think before you think?

Have you ever made a complete 180-degree revision of your thoughts on a topic? Did it feel good? Did it make you challenge other things you believe?

Do you often consider “what’s the popular conservative/liberal position?” on an issue before you form your own opinion? Does it concern you when your thinking is not what you might have expected it to be?

Have you ever heard a person you generally disagree with (a politician, a co-worker, a family member, a media commentator) say something that sounds downright enlightened? Does it make you wonder if some of that person’s previous ideas may have more merit that you earlier believed?

Conversely, how do you react when someone whose opinions generally jibe with your own delivers thoughts that make you cringe?

Are you able to read between the lines of media reporting on an issue? Do you consider the leanings of the media outlet and the writer/broadcaster? Do you seek out particular sources to compare their versions of an item versus those of others?

Can you filter through the thoughts and opinions on your Facebook and Twitter feeds, sorting out informed comments from lunatic ravings? Do you unfriend those whose opinions are different from yours? Or are you willing to hear/read what they have to say, even if you disagree completely?

Do you allow your own opinions to coalesce gradually or do you form them quickly? Have you ever had an “aha!” moment where clarity swoops in and suddenly gives you the reasoning you need to form an opinion?

Have you ever taken a contrarian position on a topic simply to generate conversation or feedback? (That’s a popular tactic of certain newspaper columnists and talk show hosts.) Often those contrarian positions turn out to have positives you may not have initially considered.

Whether your opinion is about a serious issue or something less important, make sure that your opinion is your own. Don’t merely parrot the ideas of others. Think before you think.

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