Its time to think for ourselves.

Aug 7th, 2011 | By | Category: abundance, aptitude, challenges, self confidence, strategy

This week has been really one for the record books when it comes to bad financial news. The US slipped from it AAA bond rating for the first time, and many predict it is the first step down the slippery slope to complete financial collapse. This follows on the political shenanigans revolving around raising the US debt ceiling, (which was supposed to advert all of the financial disasters that occurred anyway) It kind of makes you think, “How smart are these guy’s anyway? “ and “Even I could do better than that.”

Those are really very wholesome thoughts. All too often we place our fates in the hands of others because we believe we have more knowledge and skill at making decisions of what is best course of action for us. This may be true when it comes to technical oriented issues such as medical, legal, or mechanical problems, where there is a prescribed methodology to solving the problems that can be learned. For example a doctor spends many years in school learning how to diagnose and treat disease. A lawyer studies law and the court system to put up the best representation for their clients, and engineers, technicians and craftsmen are schooled in fixing ever increasing complex equipment. Does their training make them infallible? Of course not, but the odds are they will be more successful in their career fields due to their technical training.

So what about issues that are not technical, or where there is no prescribed methodology for addressing the problem? Should you hand over your decision making to someone else?

It is often the easy way out, to just ask the expert. There are experts available to supply answers to the most mundane questions. I watched in awe as a fashion consultant on TV, who makes millions of dollars a year, was telling the viewers what color of socks they should wear. No matter what the issue, there is an expert to advise you for a price, but are they really any better at making decisions than you would be on your own?

Thinking for yourself is one of the greatest attributes we have. We should not be so willing to surrender our fate to someone else. There is nothing wrong with asking for advice or reading about someone else’s experiences, but when is comes to actually making a decision maintaining that power is essential to your best interests.

It seems sort of counter to our social structure. On one hand we are told to think for our selves, but from the time we are born there is someone telling what to do. Perhaps a there does need to be a balance to keep social order. For example, following traffic rules and regulations enables us all to drive on the same roads in relative safety. However, even when there are rules to govern certain activities, there is still a need to think and make individual judgments. The more we practice making and implementing our decisions the greater our potential for individual independence and achievement.

Although we all have different experiences and education, our brainpower is about the same. I used to think the smarter a person was the higher their quality of life. I now believe that to be a misconception. In almost all cultures there seems to be an average level of lifestyle regardless of IQ. For example, most of the US population enjoys about the same level of day-to-day lifestyle. Most shop at the same grocery stores, go to the same doctors, and have the same modern connivances in our homes.

Our ability to make good decisions is based in large part on our experience. Since we are fairly homogenous society with very similar lifestyles it stands to reason that our experiences will fall within a narrow range. Although there may be a slight difference among us when it comes to formal education, most often education amounts to trivial rather then essential knowledge. In my opinion, ethics and moral fortitude are more important in making good general decisions, then esoteric knowledge. If instead of trying to game the system, decisions were based on sound reasoning the results would be astoundingly different.

Take for example the US debt ceiling. It was not the decision to raise US borrowing limits that once again derailed the recovery. It was the personal agendas of the White House and Congress. If they were thinking of their constituents their actions would have less crisis oriented, and more cooperative. There will be huge profits made on this latest stock market crisis, but not by the individual investor, who more or less bases their decisions on the advice of Wall Street. If your fortunes depended on individual investor’s funding the market, what type of advice would you give?
If you had to cut the US budget how would you do it? If you are like most, you would employ a certain sense of fairness and compassion, putting your personal gains along side the interest of the whole. Developing a scenario where everybody wins. If everyone would start thinking for themselves, it is my conclusion that we would band together to solve our common problems.

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