Our culture at the moment is playing a worldwide game of dominos. Each movement creates movement in another piece of the chain reaction. Comments wounding, decisions with ramifications and how do we personally respond?
We each have moments of connection and personal revelation and we want to find a way to stumble and articulate the truth of our own story.
It’s easy to share something that others have written. Especially when it resounds deeply within your soul and you know there is something about the words that compel you to respond. You even get rounds of applause from the people in your online groups, who think the same thoughts as you, whom the algorithm has joined together in perfect synchronicity.
Then you find another thought, story and follower.
Another person just like me, someone who believes the same things, has similar experiences and deeply set worry paths in their minds. It is this belonging and commonality that propels your conversations forward and suddenly you have the kind of friend you have always hoped for.
Until you don’t.
The scariest propellant in this season is the commonality of offence that draws groups of information together into a swirling riptide of emotion, is that it takes brave thinking to apply the information in a way, that swims against the tide. We are in an era of more information than ever before and who do you believe has the wisdom required that applies those concepts into brave living.
Bravery is a word that is easily written in a farewell card or the screen saver to our phones but what does it truly mean to explore a new way of living, that says goodbye to popular opinion, to truly understand the bias of the communicator. This means having a critical and analytical approach to things in order to provide an objective judgment.
It’s not a well-taught skill at school. Universities thrive on it, but somehow, somewhere along the way, we lose the capacity to remove ourselves bravely from the writhing culture around us.
Our world swarms with information. Often many facts are published in a way that people accept the validity and authority of the person proposing them but brave thinking empowers us to question those propositions in a way that helps us to make our own choices.
To live bravely we need to understand these five things…
Firstly think about the problem you are solving and its context. We cannot make decisions that help us to live with courage if we don’t understand the true context and situation that we are facing. Fear can often back us into a corner where we are unable to see the true nature of the problem, we only believe the one that is presented by the most compelling force. Understanding the smaller parts or the problem makes it easier to return to the big picture and identify the core question that needs to be answered in order to improve the situation.
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Do your own research. Do your own fact checks the statistics, look up the original person who posted the information, find the original artist/ author/ scientist. Question the authority of the person who has shared the information. Question assumptions. The bravest thing you can do is ask great questions!
Identify Bias. Self-Reflection is one of the greatest tools for identifying your understanding, beliefs and bias. This is why I am so passionate about journaling and the power of unpacking the emotions surrounding our own stories. We can easily surround ourselves with people who don’t allow us to move from these invisible boundaries that hold us to our past beliefs and upbringing.
Reframe Your Relationship with Authority. I grew up in a family that had a healthy respect for authority. All adults were called Aunty and Uncle and we were raised to do what we were told. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when you outsource your authority in a way that you don’t question the brave thinking they are partaking in on you allow others to steer your life’s direction. The interesting thing about self-authority, is you have the permission to truly unpack what it is you believe and make your decisions accordingly.
Find friends who allow you to free your thinking! Friendship for me has never been about similarity, I have always gathered a diverse group of people along my life’s path. Women who are older than me, girls who are younger. People from different heritages and cultures. Storytellers, scientists, politicians and entrepreneurs.
Next time you lunch/ brunch/ hang out with a group of your friends, check one thing… Do you eat the same? look the same? order the same coffee/ tea? Do you follow the same people online? Do you watch the same shows?
This practical application of brave thinking brings the refreshing moment where you are able to thrive within diversity but also receive feedback, insight and perspective from people who free your think!
Having friendships that hold opposing points of view on topics is one of the greatest gifts life can ever give your future if you have the humility to step bravely into the beauty of allowing others to think differently from you.
How are your domino’s falling this Febuary?
Is it time for some brave thinking?