I think that insights have the power to change the way we think and ultimately our lives. So I’ve decided to share some of my insights every month! Here are 3 insights I learned or I thought about in August.
Insight #1: The most important thing to develop is your ability to think
We all learn many things in school, at university, in our families and so on. We learn from books, from friends, from movies. But I think that nobody ever teaches us how to think. And when I say this, I mean that nobody teaches us how to think well, critically and accurately.
The type of thinking I am referring to is the one that truly makes a difference. It is the ability that allows us to:
- analyze the things we learn and test their validity
- judge that information based on criteria such as accuracy, usefulness, importance
- identify how we think and why
- spot lies, fake information, half-truths, inconsistencies, logical fallacies
- understand when something matters and why
To me, the ability to think critically is the ultimate power. But, unfortunately, it is the type of power we have to develop on our own. I’m lucky because I was always introspective and inquisitive so this makes it easier for me. But even I had to work on this and I still have to develop this skill.
I think that this is a crucial skill and I wanted to share this idea with you. I have noticed that some of the greatest people alive seem to have this skill as well. Some are obviously more gifted or developed in this area than others, but most educated, influential and great people are better at this than the average person. So I would say that this helps us better understand the world and achieve more.
What you can do
I am not an expert on this, but I do know a few things about thinking things logically and accurately. If you want to develop this ability you can:
- Analyze yourself more. Ask yourself why you think the way you do.
- Look at what you believe is true about yourself, others and the world. Then ask yourself what makes you think that is the truth.
- Always always seek the truth. When you realize that your beliefs were wrong, update them. Give up your misconceptions and accept the truth instead.
- Analyze the people around you more. Look at what they say, what they do and try to understand the way they think and why.
- Question everything you think is true without having any proof or solid evidence.
- Don’t believe everything people tell you, no matter who they are.
Honestly, I cannot begin to explain how valuable this skill is and how much I cherish it. But I can tell you this: once you start thinking this way, you will look at the world differently. Things will make sense to you and you will better understand how the world works and why.
Insight #2: Technology has the power to dehumanize us, but we should fight against that. – Jaron Lanier
I found this idea in a book I am reading now – You are not a gadget by Jaron Lanier. The author is a pioneer in virtual reality and he wrote this book to warn us of some of the problems technologies create. He is not against technology, but he seems to believe that technology has the power to negatively affect individuals and societies.
He believes that some technology designs limit our ability to express ourselves as creative and unique individuals. And I see that happening with social media. For example, everyone’s profile looks the same. And this is true about all popular social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and others. Have you noticed this?
It is true that you can choose your profile picture on Instagram, but it will always have a round frame so it still looks like everyone’s picture. Yes, you can write whatever you want on your bio, but you are still limited to a certain number of characters you can fill with letters and emoji – like everyone else. Yes, you can post your own pictures and videos, but they still have limits in dimension and length.
To be honest, I never noticed this before. But the more I learn about social media and technology, the more worried I am of what it does, what it represents and how it shapes us and our societies.
Lanier encourages us to fight against this. He argues that we can, and should, find ways to keep our humanity and uniqueness even in the technological era and world. And I encourage you to do the same – in your own way.
What you can do
- Learn more about this. Maybe it’s not something you care about or want to learn about, but you should. We all should because technology is changing ourselves in ways we do not even understand. And this makes technology powerful and dangerous and it leaves us vulnerable. So we need to learn how to protect ourselves and stay human and…
- Try to express yourself in a different and unique was as much as possible. Be creative and bold.
- Be authentic and vulnerable. In a world that seems to push and promote shallowness and fake perfection, do your best to be real and a bit messy at times. It’s liberating and powerful.
- Don’t just recreate the same pictures everyone else is posting – even if they are popular.
- Try to be different in a way that represents you. If you want to post 10 pictures of your cat, do that. If you love taking pictures of the books you read, do that. If you want to post a daily selfie to see how your face changes in time, do that.
The most precious things we have are our humanity and our uniqueness. I think we should fight to preserve them, even if it means getting more likes, comments and followers.
Insight #3: We should encourage and support the people who are doing good work
We live in a world where we have a lot of freedom. Anyone can become an influencer, write a book or start a company. Some people do these things because they are skilled and they genuinely want to help. They want to earn a living in a professional, responsible and good way. They pay taxes, care about the planet and use their time to serve their clients or followers. I am always happy to see people like these!
But then there are others who abuse the power and opportunities they have. They sell overpriced and underdeveloped products. They mislead people and take advantage of them for a profit. They only want to enrich themselves, without understanding that they need to be responsible and respectful of other people, society and the environment. I am always sad and disappointed when I see people like these.
And I think that if we find the “good” kind of people (those who genuinely try to have a positive impact while limiting their negative impact), we should tell them that. We should comment on their articles, like their pictures, send them messages and buy their products. Only if we support good people they will succeed and have the power to do more good.
What you can do
- If you know a person that does a good job and has good intentions, tell them that. They will appreciate it!
- Support the people that give you value by buying their products and telling more people about them.
- Talk more about the people you like and admire than about those you dislike for the negative impact they have.
- If you know someone whose activity has a negative impact, try to tell them that. Do your best to be respectful, compassionate, but also frank and honest.
- If you are one of the people who spends time helping others, writing articles to share good ideas or building a business focused on people, keep going! We need people like you!
Has any of these insights influenced your perspective? Will you change something in the way you think or act because of them?