Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

May 7, 2012

How To Think For Yourself.

You have to start thinking for yourself sometime.

Insist on yourself. Never imitate.   ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Frankly, at some point you don’t have a choice.  Life forces you.  Maybe it’s when you take your first step as a toddler.  Or maybe it’s when you take the SAT test as a young adult.

At some point, you realize that even though information is being thrown at you, it is up to you to interpret what you hear, to make your own opinions,  and to do something about it.

Over time this becomes second nature.

It’s subconscious.  You make decisions without even thinking much at all about what you are doing. Based on experience and memorable life instances, you apply judgment in real-time.  As circumstances present themselves, you decide how to react.

And that is a tremendously exhausting experience.  It demands emotional commitment.  You have to pick a side. You have to make hard choices.  You have to filter truth from hyperbole.  So it is always easier is to stop the pain.  To stop thinking on your own.  To just let other people’s opinions become your own.  To accept anger and frustration as fact and excuse.

And even though you’re not investing the emotional effort that you used to exert, you’ll find yourself just as confused, and perhaps more frustrated.

The answer is to do it the hard way.

You have to think for yourself.

It’s tiring.  It demands focus.  At times you’re frustrated and unsure.  But it’s the key to breakthrough.  When you stop thinking for yourself, who you could be gets lost in the mimicry of everyone else’s opinion.

Simply, you lose your way unless you’re focused on finding it.  Unless you deliberately decide to make the right choice, right now.

It all comes down to a few simple uncompromising outlooks:

  1. Challenge everything.
  2. Trust your gut instinct.
  3. Pursue creativity.
  4. Look for what’s not there.
  5. Decry mediocrity.
  6. Focus on what’s important.
  7. Keep trying.
  8. Fight through the confusion.
  9. Learn hard lessons the first time.
  10. Don’t give in to peer pressure.

Demand more than implication and inference.

Think for yourself.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.