Free thinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking…” 
― Leo Tolstoy

Are you able to think for yourself? Are your thoughts shaped by other – be it parents, educators, society, the media?

Your  I.Q. is not an indicator of your ability to think independently, in an original and coherent way because there are people with genius IQ level yet, still incapable of thinking outside the box. Thinking for yourself – in other words, “thinking different” is a skill that must be developed and nurtured.

In my view, education should not be just learning various skills to make a living, but rather long life learning process to understand life itself. Hence, the greatest influence over your life is likely your education.

Unlike genes, circumstance, or looks, education is pretty much something under our control. Or, we only believe so? I always wonder how come that no one can agree on how does the ideal education look like? I know and I believe that many parents would agree with me that great majority of schools do not provide us with the most important tools for us to experience life.

Effort is worth more than brain power. A weaker mind that exerts itself can surpass a more gifted but passive mind. Thinking for yourself is a product of mental and emotional exertion — a concerted effort to think freely, and not just fall back on your comfortable and natural patterns. Picture your good, perceptive, fresh ideas as a spark in a flint stone, or a diamond encased in rock. You must apply pressure to the rock to extract the diamond. In cognitive terms, pressure comes in the form of deep concentration and mental strain — wrestling with ideas in a way that transcends your comfort zone.

Secondly, while new insights are a product of mental exertion, they are also a product of allowing your perspective to be challenged. Indeed, that is a key ingredient in the acquisition of knowledge. Discovering the ultimate truth requires exposure to many diverse opinions and channels of truth. Feeding your mind with knowledge through reading, discussing, and taking classes as well as well intentioned arguments, can significantly broaden your horizons so that you can go beyond your habitual patterns of thought. Nothing allows your mind grow more then inviting constructive critique.

Ultimately, a biased and subjective mind is limited in its capacity, and narrows your scope, whereby modesty and patience leads to more objective and broader conclusions. When you take yourself — your ego out of the picture, you are able to open your channels to ideas that your “self” and your prejudices and blind spots would otherwise block or reject.

Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
― Albert Einstein