In one minute, over a thousand thoughts run through a person’s mind. Many of these thoughts are random and generally useless, but some of them stick with us. The ones that stick evoke curiosity, emotions, and various other feelings. No wonder philosophers loved to sit and think for hours at a time. Ideas and thoughts have shaped the world around us. Thoughts have given us amazing dialogues about the purpose of life, ideologies about communism, socialism, capitalism, and whether or not cereal is considered a soup. These thoughts have also been behind many movements and revolutions in history. Thus, it can be easily accepted that a person’s thoughts and ideas are the most powerful strength they possess. It took one man to believe that the master race was the Aryan race, and he was able to inspire a whole country to kill over six million Jews. At the same time, one man thought, “Children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”, and he made leaps in the abolishment of slavery. We have all been given this power, but unfortunately, we have allowed it to become numb and rarely exercise it.
Similar to how we now have machines to wash our clothes, we have a variety of tools at our disposal that do our thinking for us. Not a minute goes by where we are not exposed to information, opinions, and content. I find myself jumping from platform to platform just mindlessly taking in information. Let me give you an example.
I wake up and the first thing I find myself doing is checking my phone. I clear my notifications, check my messages, Snapchats, and then find myself on my Instagram feed – which is flooded with posts about sports, news, people’s posts, and some random accounts I follow. After I get ready, I open my laptop to do school work and periodically take breaks which I use to check my group chats or scroll through my Twitter feed, which consists of tweets about random things. While eating, I am either watching something on Netflix or watching a D3 basketball player school people in parks. When I am done with school, I hop on warzone with the boys or play some MyCareer. If it’s nice out, I’ll take a walk and listen to some music. After dinner and everything, I’ll do a small session of school, a workout, catching up on shows or movies, a good amount of TikTok until I finally fall asleep.
I think everyone has their version of this. But one thing common between the majority of our schedules is that we don’t seem to hit pause. We spend so much time with our external environment that we forget that we are more than just the “body”. Our internal self, our thoughts, ideas, and opinions also need a slot in our schedule. I am not saying something extreme like spending hours a day just sitting and thinking, rather, giving ourselves 15-30 minutes with our thoughts. Use this time to introspect and understand yourself. We spend so much time learning about other things that we forget to learn about ourselves. It might seem boring at first, but with practice, these minutes to yourself will become the most rewarding part of your day. You can also make this time creative by writing your thoughts out, which is something I do. You can even incorporate something more difficult like meditating or doodling but personalize it to make it more enjoyable.
Once you start doing this, you’ll realize you are becoming more of an original thinker, and not someone who just feeds off others’ ideas. Whenever someone asks you, “What do you think?”, you’ll be able to say more than “I don’t know”. But most importantly, as the modern philosopher Aubrey Graham said, you’ll “Know Yourself”.