I’ve been reminded, viscerally, in the past few weeks that independent thinking is in very, very short supply.
As much as we’d like to think that others (and even ourselves) are mature enough to carry our own opinions without submitting ourselves to the whims of others… the mark is missed wildly in reality.
My brother and I have been deep into fundraising for our new project and we have encountered many people who cannot seem to make an independent decision. These people are otherwise brilliant (as far as I can tell) but are still subject to the whims and will(s) of others.
Which, of course, is sad.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though as it separates the wheat from the chaff and it allows us to partner with truly independent thinkers who see the opportunity plainly and without group-think bias. We’ve ended up saying “Yes” to those types of folks.
On another related note… the reason that most people do not truly activate or participate in independent thinking is because they do not want to be lonely… or rather, alone in their decision making. Hedging… de-risking… consensus… these are powerful relationship-driven mechanisms that help the individual feel more secure in their own identity and person.
Independent thinking is closely married to being independent, which often means that one is alone in their thinking and in their execution. I have always been a fairly independent thinker and I have spent much of my time alone. They are natural bedfellows but not always welcome.
The best opportunities in life, both personal and professional, are often times directed down the roads less traveled. As we look back at all the hive-minded folks, some who we respect and maybe even love… we press on towards the horizon knowing that the best is yet to come.
[That stock photo above is so fucking ridiculous that I love it. It’s perfect for this blog post.]
Also published on Medium.