Have you ever come across someone who believed in every popular trend or who feels that the opinions of a single individual are the only ones that matter? These individuals are easily misled by content that may be laced with errors or incorrect facts. Thus, it is all the more amazing when we encounter a very independent thinker who has the willpower and courage to evaluate the facts and form their own conclusions while ignoring how others see the same issue.
It is possible to describe independent thinking as evaluating and deciding on the authenticity of information based only on your perceptions. As a result, you will not be influenced by external influences on your views. The majority of successful people are regarded as independent thinkers, and they attribute their accomplishments to their ability to think in this manner.
Benefits of Independent Thinking
To be a good, independent thinker requires perpetual curiosity about the world around you and a willingness to tap into the intellect of others, but also the bravery to question other opinions in order to alter your own.
It Boosts Up Confidence. One of the advantages of being an independent thinker is that you appear confident when self-reliant and self-assured. You are confident in your capabilities. Unquestionably, confidence makes one more professional, dependable, and competent. It also teaches us to be humbler and more assured of our thoughts by not letting our brains and capabilities get the greater of us!
Promotes Flexibility. Independent thinkers consider challenges from every angle. As a consequence, they understand when they can handle a problem on their own and when they will want outside assistance. Their confidence enables them to be adaptable enough to solicit information from others without fear or ego impeding them. Rather than attempting to achieve more with less, independent thinkers are willing to invest in the tools required to execute a task well.
Helps You to Think Out of Box. People often choose to go along with what they’re taught and believe because they’re fearful of standing out as the odd one out among a group of like-minded others. According to an independent thinker, there’s always a better option available to them. While not all of their innovative ideas are beneficial, their desire to challenge established thought and generate new ideas is appreciated.
Developing Additional Life Skills. Independent thinking improves a variety of life skills, including organization, planning, open-mindedness, and communication. It is a life skill that involves taking on obstacles in professional and personal life with ease. It develops self-assurance and independence, resulting in successful lives. As an independent thinker, one will learn from their errors and increase productivity in all areas of life.
Activates the Mind. Just as our bodies need training and challenges to be stronger, our minds require the same. It’s appropriate to argue that independent thinking is analogous to mental activity. It also fosters the development of several critical abilities, including logical reasoning, decision-making, and an open mind.
Better Decision Making. Without uncertainty, independent thinkers make the wisest decisions. Independent thinking enables us to cope with daily difficulties as they happen, and this process is often carried out unconsciously. It teaches us to think independently and to trust our instincts.
Why is independent thinking important?
We all know that independent thinking is excellent for society, but what about individuals? Why is it so important?
To Be Insightful. Individuals who rely only on their mental faculties are always in their minds, thinking, discovering, and imagining. Individuals that think for themselves are innovators. They pave the way for new systems, defy conventional trends and customs, and discover new ways of doing work by figuring out how to improve and streamline existing ones. Consider Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Dave Packard, and Bill Hewlett, as well as Mark Zuckerberg. Each of these brilliant individuals was/is an aspirational innovator with an independent mind.
To Find Reality. One of the finest advantages to being an independent thinker is that many of us are constantly on the lookout for truth—and not just what is popularly accepted as true. Our world and society are always evolving, and new things are uncovered daily. Being a questioner and deducing for yourself what is true or perhaps true is the best course of action before coming to a definitive conclusion. When you think independently and don’t automatically accept everything you hear, your mind serves as a filter, to put it another way.
To Be More Analytical & Strategic. Independent thinkers are the achievers; they evaluate everything and proceed strategically. Being an independent thinker enables one to examine problems more quickly and with clarity before acting – this results in reduced procrastination and more performance.
For Self-Reflection. How can we really have a meaningful life if we do not engage in critical thinking? We need this ability in order to self-reflect and defend our ways of life and beliefs. Independent thinking equips us with the skills we need to assess ourselves in the manner in which we need to be evaluated.
However, when someone isn’t able to think independently then one might become the victim of the opposite matter which is peer pressure. Peer pressure refers to the effect that members of the same social group exert on one another. Additionally, it is a phrase used to characterize the impact that this influence has on an individual’s desire to adapt in order to gain acceptance by the group.
Often, peers are taken as friends, however, peers may be anybody with a comparable position, such as persons of the same age, ability, or social standing. Peer pressure is often thought of negatively; however, it isn’t always. Peer pressure is also used to help individuals. Numerous studies have shown the critical role of peers in encouraging prosocial actions.
Peer pressure may manifest itself in a variety of ways and can affect people of all ages. Due to the fact that peer pressure entails delivering some form of message, the manner in which that message is transmitted may be modified accordingly. You may be subjected to extremely direct and obvious peer pressure at times; at other times, it may be merely a strong emotion; at times, it may seem enjoyable; at other times, it may sound frightening. There are the following types of peer pressure,
Positive peer pressure is when someone’s peers encourage them to do something positive or push them to grow in a beneficial way. It may be direct, indirect, verbal, or nonverbal. This is the pressure applied in one-on-one or group scenarios that leads to good outcomes and healthy living choices. According to research, merely having friends who do not smoke, use drugs, or drink alcohol may reduce the likelihood that young people would use substances.
Peer pressure is one of the most effective strategies for a youngster to practice good conduct and make sensible and independent decisions in his or her life. For example, take a student who surrounds him or herself with members of an academic club, a group of peers who engage in class, and strive for excellent grades
Negative Peer pressure. Peer pressure may be direct, indirect, verbal, or nonverbal. This peer pressure might push people to do things they wouldn’t normally do, just to fit in. It may destroy self-esteem and result in decreased academic performance, withdrawal from family and friends, and a rise in sadness and anxiety. If left untreated, this may ultimately lead to youth self-injuring or having suicidal thoughts.
Being around individuals who put us under pressure to do things we’re not comfortable with might make us uneasy and stressed as per research. Adolescence is the period during which a person is most vulnerable to peer pressure, since peers have a significant impact on behavior, and peer pressure has been described as a characteristic of the teenage experience.
Friends may exert peer pressure on one another to drink, experiment with illegal substances, engage in risky sexual conduct, or drive dangerously. Unspoken or passive peer pressure to comply may have a large impact on drug usage. Passive peer pressure had a bigger influence on adolescent smoking than aggressive peer pressure, according to 2012 research. In other words, those who have smoking peers are more prone to smoke as well. Learn more about alcoholism and peer pressure and how to cut down on alcohol in this article here.
Because there are several ways to experience peer pressure, it’s important to understand how widespread societal pressure is across distinct demographics.
- The Peak Age of Peer influence is natural throughout adolescence and often peaks around the age of 15, then declines. Instead, peer pressure resilience seems to plateau between 18 and 30.
- Underage Drinking. Peer pressure is a crucial element in underage drinking. The CDC estimates that 12–20-year-old consume 11% of all alcohol consumed in the US. Per the Underage Drinking Research Initiative, 2/3 of 10th-grade students and 2/5 of 8th-grade students had consumed alcohol at some point in their lives due to peer pressure.
- Effect of Peer Pressure. According to a Parent Further report on peer pressure, just 10% of teens surveyed said that they had not been impacted by peer pressure. Within the same study, 28% of students thought that responding to peer pressure helped their social status.
- Smoking-related. According to another study, 70% of teenagers who smoke actively said that they began smoking as a result of peer pressure or social pressure to attempt smoking.
- Alcohol-related Peer Pressure. Between the ages of 12 and 20, about 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States is drunk by young people as per reports by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. By age 18, about twice as many teens had had one or more alcoholic drinks than at age 15. By the time they are 18, around 60% of teenagers have consumed one or more alcoholic drinks. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol-related peer pressure does not only affect just teenagers or young adults. Overall, one in every five persons over the age of 55 has been pressured to drink more alcohol than they normally would.
- Social Media may be harmful to teenagers, putting them under stress. 40% of kids feel pressured to just publish stuff that will make them appear good to others. The urge to concentrate on popular material that would get more likes and comments is also felt by 39% of respondents.
One of the most effective methods to help yourself or anyone in avoiding negative peer pressure is to establish the ability to think independently. Independent thinkers are unconcerned with whether others would like them–they are self-assured.
How to Cultivate Independent Thinking at a Younger Age?
Luckily, independent thinking does not need a high level of intelligence or education. This process can begin in childhood. It has been studied that when children learn to put their own needs first and subsequently those of others, they are less likely to engage in bad conduct. Additionally, when youngsters are self-sufficient thinkers, they may listen to their instincts and act according to their intuition rather than the whims of other teenagers.
Question Yourself. As previously said, it is not the burden of an independent thinker to accept what is claimed or spoken and to follow blindly. Rather than that, they cast doubt on and question everything expressed, even if the thinking or notion originates inside. To build the habit of becoming an independent thinker, one must begin by asking yourself several questions whenever you have an idea or a new concept. Additionally, one should develop the practice of asking diverse inquiries to others whenever they assert anything factually. This will aid them in polishing their talents and also in perceiving things from several perspectives as also proven by research.
Make Reading a Habit. Formerly, reading was seen as a means of improving one’s vocabulary knowledge. However, it is more than that these days. To begin, reading may help one have a better understanding of any culture and gain firsthand knowledge of how things are done. It might expose one to numerous concepts and beliefs, therefore broadening one’s mental perspective. Thus, if one wants to be an independent thinker, reading will aid them in developing a free-thinking style and also in the art of ideation. Consider picking up the most popular books and establishing a reading habit, to begin with, before gradually increasing your reading habits. One may also read a variety of intriguing articles.
Interact More. It isn’t acceptable to just read and think differently. Social engagement is also vital in developing a more dynamic and free kind of thinking capacity. Put oneself in the open and engage with others, particularly those who think or believe differently than them. This can help them sharpen their ideas and close any flaws. Start engaging with individuals of diverse ages, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations.
Travel. One of the finest ways to develop independent thinking abilities is to travel as much as possible. It broadens our horizons and introduces us to other cultures, customs, people, situations, and activities that one may not have experienced in one’s native country. By going to different places, you may more readily acquire distinct ideas and thoughts.
Don’t Just Go with Flow. Human beings are social creatures, and they are prone to become swept away by the flow. The fact that what everybody else is practicing may not be the greatest option for one must be recognized. Don’t get carried away with this. Consider your options logically. Consider what you believe to be the most advantageous course of action in a particular scenario. You should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each circumstance before deciding on the best course of action.
Avoid Surrendering to Peer Pressure. Your friends, peers, and individuals in your socioeconomic class are not necessarily the smartest. The continuous desire to fit in, be accepted, and be respected may be tough to overcome. We may have hobbies or interests that are diametrically opposed to others around us, but we yet find ourselves touched by them. When dealing with peer pressure may be tough, it is crucial to focus on our own talents and values while making decisions. Ensure that you evaluate the course of action proposed by your peers and do not succumb to peer pressure just because everyone else your age is doing the same thing.
Do Research. Before forming an opinion, be certain that you have gathered sufficient facts to make an informed decision. No one appreciates engaging in an argument with someone who is unable to provide evidence to support their points of view. Forming your ideas on the basis of reasoning rather than an emotional connection is preferred. Instead of siding with the point of view that you desire to be correct – confirmation bias, go with the one that you have come to believe is correct.
In general, peer pressure has a substantial influence on individuals of all ages, and it has the potential to lead to harmful actions in certain instances. People, on the other hand, may become more aware of the concerns and obstacles that they may face by learning from the facts shown above. As a result, individuals may be able to make more independent decisions making and reduce the likelihood that they would succumb to peer pressure and do something they would not otherwise do.