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Be Happy Self-Help Uncategorized

Words Can Heal. Words Can Destroy. Choose Yours Carefully.

Words can heal. Words can destroy. They have tremendous power and energy. Choose yours carefully. Well-chosen words can breathe hope into you when your spirit is broken and can make you stronger than you know. Mean-spirited words can deflate you, destroy your spirit, make you feel hopeless, and force you to live in idiocrasy.

“Words. So innocent as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Language is what makes us human it is a vital part of human connection. Although other species have their own way of communication, human beings are the only ones who have mastered the skill of cognitive language communication. Language allows us to share our ideas, thoughts, and feeling with others. It has the power to build societies but also tear them down.

Words can heal rifts and even stop wars.

Words can inspire. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

Words can heal. Words can destroy. The power of words is immense. Well-chosen words have in the past sufficed to stop an army and change defeat into victory. In the olden days, ceasefires were called parley (from French: parler – to speak) and were often spoken after waving a white flag, requesting for some time-out and for a last attempt discussion/negotiation to try to end hostilities between two groups of people.

“The magic of words is that they have the power to do more than convey meaning; not only do they have the power to make things clear they make things happen.”

Frederick Buechner

In October 1962, the world came very close to a devastating nuclear war between two superpowers, the USA led by President John. F. Kennedy and the USSR led by Nikita Khrushchev. The whole drama started when the CIA discovered that medium to long-range Soviet ballistic nuclear missiles were being built on the Island of Cuba, just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. The fate of millions of people around the world depended on how these two men would communicate with each other.

President Kennedy’s advisors put a tremendous amount of pressure on him to act quickly and aggressively by destroying the missiles site followed by a full-scale invasion of Cuba. Instead of rushing into a decision that was not well thought through, Kennedy decided to pause and reflect in order to understand the bigger picture before deciding on his next move; and instead of sending his army to invade Cuba, he decided to parley with Khrushchev via exchange of letters in order to see if they could find a way to resolve this conflict without having to annihilate each other in the process.

Kennedy had recently read Barbara Tuchman’s book The Guns of August, a book about the beginning of World War I, which imprinted on his mind the image of overconfident world leaders rushing their way into a conflict, that once started they couldn’t stop. Kennedy also felt inspired by a passage from another book he read by strategist B.H. Liddell on nuclear strategy.

“Keep strong if possible. In any case, keep cool. Have unlimited patience. Never corner an opponent and always assist him to save face. Put yourself in his shoes, so as to see through his eyes. Avoid self-righteousness like the devil, nothing is so self-blinding.”

B.H. Liddell

Against the wishes of the majority of his advisors, Kennedy decided upon a less aggressive strategy, a naval blockade. This approach was to prevent further missiles from reaching Cuba, but also to give him time to think, time to communicate, and time to understand the intentions and responses from Khrushchev. On 22 October 1962, John. F. Kennedy addressed the nation via live television broadcast. His message was intended for the domestic audience but also for the international public at large, and it demonstrated true statesmanship.

“The 1930s taught us a clear lesson, aggressive conduct, if allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war… we will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth; but neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced.”

President J.F Kennedy

Words can heal. Words can destroy. Both Kennedy and Krushchev chose their words carefully, those words had so much power that they suffice to put an end to this conflict and save the world from jumping into the M.A.D world of Mutual Assured Destruction.

Words can destroy and even kill.

Words can heal. Words can destroy. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

Sometimes words can kill, they can easily arouse feelings of fear and anxiety. History is full of events where the smallest of occurrences had the most momentous consequences. Words uttered to the wrong ears can create offenses that can result in the fall of empires and wipe away complete nations.

When you think about the types of weapons used during a war, you think planes, tanks, machine guns, grenades, etc… Yes, all of these were important tools in the effort to win the war, but so was information issued by the government. During the Second World War, words were seen as powerful movers of men and women; they became mobilizers of the national spirit and called for courage and sacrifice for the sake of the nation. Most of the battles during World War II happened all around Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The USA territory was fairly remote from the action until the tragic event of Pearl Harbor. From this point forward, the U.S. government waged a constant battle for the hearts and minds of the public, persuading Americans to support the war effort.

In 1942, the Office of War Information (OWI) was created to craft with the task to disseminate through posters, pamphlets, radio shows, and movies the government’s message. Artists, filmmakers, and intellectuals were recruited to take the government’s agenda and turn it into a propaganda campaign. The objectives of the U.S. Government for the propaganda campaign were unifying the public behind the war effort, eliminating dissent of all kinds, and finding the necessary resources to finance the war effort. The government posters pulled at emotions both positive and negative. They used words as ammunition.

“The function of the war poster is to make coherent and acceptable a basically incoherent and irrational ordeal of killing, suffering, and destruction that violate the very accepted principle of morality and decent living.”

O.W. Riegal, Propaganda Analyst for the Office of War of Information.

The power of words. What is etymology?

Words can inspire. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

Words can heal. Words can destroy. What is their true meaning? Etym – olog – gy. Etym derives from etymon, which means in Greek true, real, and actual – Ology means the study of. So, etymology means the study of what is true and real. Let’s have a look at the etymology of a few words, just for fun; the idea is to find their true meaning.

Universe: Uni-Verse literally means one verse. We often refer to music as being a universal language that can be understood by anyone anywhere. The message behing any musical piece can be understood far and wide, wherever you are and whatever language you speak, because there is an universal tone to it.

If you read the word live from right to left, you get the word evil.

“How long does it take man to realize that he cannot want what he wants? You have to live in hell to see heaven.”

William S. Burroughs

A Bond in finance means an instrument of indebtedness to the government. Its origin comes from the word bondage which means keeping someone in a state of servitude. The word mortgage comes from the old French –mort- gage – a dead pledge. Anyone who has gone through the process of obtaining a 20- or 30-years mortgage knows it can feel like signing your life away. The deal dies when the debt is paid or when the payment fails.

Words can heal. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

In closing I will leave you in the company of Sadhguru, who has a special talent with words.

“If you become pleasant in your body, we call it health. If you become very pleasant in your body, we call it a pleasure. If your mind becomes pleasant, we call it peace. If it becomes very pleasant, we call it joy. If your emotions become pleasant, we call it love. If it becomes very pleasant, we call it compassion. If your life energy becomes pleasant, we call it bliss. If it becomes very pleasant, we call it ecstasy.”

Sadhguru

Words can heal and words can destroy. Choose yours carefully. And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Words can heal. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

No One Wants To Hear This!

No one wants to hear this, but we are all being mind-controlled, and the truth is not true anymore. You may think that this is a harsh statement, maybe it is, maybe it is not. It depends where you are standing. The problem these days is how do you know what’s true and what is not true? The truth of the matter is, we are living in a world of information overload, making it very difficult to know what and who to believe.

[This blog article is another one of those not-for-the-faint-hearted kind of articles, so if you feel brave enough to stay with me for a minute or two longer, please read on.]

Hoaxes, hysteria, misinformation, and scams have been around a long time. Con men and Ponzi schemes are in every corner of recorded history. You might think that our access to vast oceans of information on the internet would change that, but it hasn’t. In fact, humans are just as gullible and as easily led as ever. And then you have those who refuse to look at the evidence and prefer not to see it. They are happily burying their head in the sand and content in the knowledge that if they don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist and can’t affect them.

No one wants to hear this, but most of us are being mind-controlled

No one wants to hear this, but most of us are being mind-controlled. Photo by Startline via freepik.com

Where does human behavior come from? Behavior comes from our perception of an event or a situation. Where does perception come from? Perception comes from information received, be it from personal experience, newspaper or media. Controlling human perception can therefore become a weapon used to control what people think. The best way to do this would be to filter or censor the type of information that the public receives, or by using deceptive tactics such as subterfuge, propaganda or misinformation to make the public believe something that is not true.

The human psyche can easily be manipulated, and this is why critical thinking is so important because we need this skill in order to navigate our way through all the information, misinformation, and disinformation that is being served to us on a daily basis on all media platforms. Trying to nail down the authenticity of anything and verify our knowledge about the world is a tall order, especially when you have a media machine that spins everything you see and everything you hear.

Misinformation is false information that is being spread regardless of intent to mislead. Dis-information on the other hand is false information that is deliberately misleading or biased information, manipulated narrative or facts, or propaganda that is being spread with the intent to hurt or damage a person or organization. We are huge consumers of all types of media but often lack the willingness to check the accuracy of what is presented to us, and instead of taking notes of all the inconsistencies and questioning the narrative, we are happily drinking the Kool-aid.

We are comfortable in our echo chambers, devoid of people and ideas who challenge our own beliefs and we are rarely thinking about how our own biases affect how we think about the world. We expect Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Google to filter the truth for us, rather than putting in the hard work to do some thinking for ourselves. Some social media posts go viral in minutes after they are posted whether they carry with them the truth, or an exaggeration of the truth or total falsehood.

And then you have, repetition, which is another powerful tool to manipulate people’s psyche. There is a term for this in psychology, it is called the Illusory Truth Effect also known as the Reiteration Effect, which is the tendency to believe the information to be correct (even if it is not) after repeated exposure to that same information. Repeated affirmation fixes itself in the mind in such a way that it is accepted in the end as a demonstrated truth. Many studies have been conducted on this, and the conclusion is that familiarity overcomes rationality. No one wants to hear this but the truth does not matter. Repetition does!

“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent. The media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. This is the sort of propaganda tactic that I would call psychological warfare”.

Malcolm X

No one wants to hear this, but the truth is not true anymore.

No one wants to hear this, but the truth is not true anymore. Photo by Masou Rezaeipour via freepik.com

Whether we are aware of it or not, most of us are assessing the veracity of the information we receive based on how it is going to make us feel as opposed to looking at the actual data and try to determine whether it is actually true or not. Our perception of what reality is can be different from the actual truth of what is and what is not, and most of us rely solely on our perception and what we want the truth to be when we form an opinion about this and that. We make ourselves the arbiter of truth, and in doing so we inject our personal beliefs, conviction, and biases into the mix, before sharing with whoever wants to listen what the truth of the matter is, according to us.

“I have come to realize that the biggest problem anywhere in the world is that people’s perception of reality is compulsively filtered through the screening mesh for what they want and do not want to be true.”

Travis Walton

No one wants to hear this, but your perception does not matter. The Truth is an objective concept that is not dependent upon the perception of human beings. The Truth does not waver. The Truth doesn’t care what people think. The Truth doesn’t even care if people see it or ignore it. It has always been there, and it is there still, no matter what people think or do.

The concept of Natural Law epitomizes and illustrates the concept of Truth as an objective reality. Natural means having a basis in nature, not made or caused by human beings. Law is an existing condition that is binding. The law will bind you whether you know its existence or not and whether you understand it or not. Natural Law is something that is non-man-made, and binding. Human belief is completely irrelevant when it comes to the existence and operation of Natural Law; just as it is irrelevant in relation to any other Laws of Nature such as gravity for example.

Take someone who has strong convictions about gravity. That person is convinced that the law of gravity is non-sense and to prove his point, he decides to jump from a cliff without any parachute; that person will no doubt suffer greatly from the consequence of his belief. The truth of the matter is that gravity is an existing, immutable, non-man-made truth of nature and whether you believe in it or not makes no difference. The Truth remains. At the end of the day, you are free to believe what is true or not true but in both cases your belief will have consequences you have to live with or die for.

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what is not true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Soren Kierkegaard

The truth of the matter is: men’s wishes and perception cannot defy Natural Law. Wishing or believing otherwise makes no difference. Thomas More’s refusal to acknowledge King Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church of England and the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon lead him to be imprisoned and put on trial for treason. During his last remarks to court – defending himself in his trial for treason and knowing in advance his fate of being found guilty for his refusal to assert in writing that the King was the Head of the Church, he made the following arguments to the jury

Some men say the Earth is flat, and some men say the Earth is round. But if it is flat, could Parliament make it round? And if it is round, could the King’s command flatten it?

Thomas More

And that my dear friend is the question you have to ask yourself.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Self-Help

Stop Asking for Permission When You Don’t Have To.

To seek or not to seek permission? I say, stop asking for permission when you don’t have to.

From the day we are born, we spend our life asking permission for everything. It starts with our parents, our teachers, our boss, our spouse, or our leader, and it goes on and on. I say, stop asking for permission when you don’t have to. We grow up with a host of ingrained ideas about what we’re permitted to do or not do. As a child, we have to ask permission from our parents to ride our bikes to town. When in school, we have to raise our hands and ask the teacher permission to speak or to go to the toilet. At work, we have to ask our boss and HR department permission to go on sick leave when we are feeling unwell.

Being compliant, obedient, and asking for permission might serve us well in a civilized society as we learn how to control our wants and desires; but the irony and eventual quiet tragedy of that is that in some instances, our wants and desires might not have a possessor, a licensor or a permit giver. It may lie outside the realms of ownership. There may be broad indifference to whether we act in some way or not. There may be no law and no one to be upset by our move. The desired thing in question might just belong to whoever dares to step forward and take it. There’s no formal procedure, it’s just the courage to imagine it could be yours. The reason why certain ideas haven’t happened isn’t necessarily because they are silly, but because there is a strong and always surprising lack of originality in human conduct.

We are creatures of tradition, systems, rules, and regulations and we are conditioned to think that we need permission for everything and to act within the confines of what is permitted. For most of human history, it was customary to believe that permission to do anything had to be sought from the gods and superior forces that governed the cosmos. We may assume we don’t share this primitive characteristic, but our underlying attitude – in its essential form – suggests we do. We don’t quite know whom we are asking, and we can’t say precisely what approval looks like, but in an archaic part of our minds, we’re still waiting to be given endorsement for our most cherished plans. I say, stop asking permission when you don’t have to.

We want to know from some potent but undefined source that if we act this way, we’ll still be good people, that we won’t be punished that this is allowed, that we won’t bring retribution on ourselves or trouble from the Universe. Our culture is fascinated by inventors and artists who struck out on their own, went strongly against the tide of current opinion, and was eventually vindicated even if only after their deaths. We get excited by the stories of their lives because we unconsciously find in them something that’s missing in us: a bold indifference to permission, a reminder of our lack of courage and timidity.

Stop asking for permission when you don’t have to. You don’t need permission to think the way you think

Stop asking for permission when you don’t have to. Photo by Wayhome studio via freepik.com

In the Dystopian Novel 1984 written by George Orwell, the Thought Police (Thinkpol) are the secret police of the superstate of Oceania, who discover and punish Though Crime, personal and political thoughts unapproved by the regime. Thinkpol uses criminal psychology and omnipresent surveillance via informers, telescreens cameras, and microphones to monitor the citizens of Oceania and arrest all those who have committed Thought Crime in challenge to the status quo authority of the Party and the regime of Big Brother.

Democratic societies assert unequivocally that freedom of expression is part of our human rights. The First Amendment of the US Constitution largely protects Americans from the creepy authoritarian systems found in 1984 and so does the Human Rights Act; Article 10 of the Human Rights Act protects your right to hold your own opinions and express them freely without government interference. This includes the right to express your views aloud (for example through public protest and demonstrations) or through published articles, books or leaflets, television or radio broadcasting, works of arts, the internet, and social media.

Sadly, the scenario envisaged in Orwell’s book 1984 seems to be more reality than fiction. The new Thought Police are Big Tech and the rise of Cancel Culture. We will have to decide as a collective if seeking conformity of thought or language through public shaming is healthy or suffocating. Condoning the censorship road that is being taken by Big Tech is likely to be the road that takes us straight to that place called Tyranny.

“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing. When you see, that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favor. When you see that men get richer more easily by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them but protect them against you. When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – You may know that your society is doomed” Extract from Atlas shrugged Ayn Rand (1905 to 1982) – Novelist, philosopher, and screenwriter.

Ayn Rand

History is full of examples of crazy things you won’t believe used to be legal, slavery being one of them. We tend to think of the law as an obvious truth, the reality is that society pretty much makes things up as we go along. Thank goodness, we can rely on Natural Law which is a superior law to the Law of the State to save us from tyranny. Some big thinkers spent time thinking about this concept.

Aristotle is often said to be the father of Natural Law. The Natural Law thesis holds that if a human law fails to be backed up by decisive reason, then it is not a proper law at all. This is captured in the maxim “an unjust law is no law at all”. In his treatise Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes expressed a view of Natural Law as a general rule, by which a man is forbidden to do that which is destructive of his life or takes away the means of preserving the same. According to Emanuel Kant, in a free society, each individual must be able to pursue their goals however they see fit as long as their actions conform to principles governed by reason.

Thomas More’s refusal to acknowledge King Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church of England and the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon lead him to be imprisoned and put on trial for treason. During his last remarks to court – defending himself in his trial for treason and knowing in advance his fate of being found guilty for his refusal to assert in writing that the King was the Head of the Church, he made the following arguments to the jury :

“Some men say the Earth is flat and some men say the Earth is round. But if it is flat, could Parliament make it round? And if it is round, could the King’s command flatten it?”

Thomas More

What Thomas More so eloquently expressed during his trial was that the Laws of Nature will force the government to exercise a certain restraint. There is a limit to what a government and/or parliament can legitimately do. That limit is set by Natural Law. Extract from Chapters 7 & 10 of This Is Your Quest.

You don’t need permission to be enlightened or to act with reason

Stop asking for permission when you don’t have to. Photo by Wayhome studio via freepik.com

The 18th century was a period known as the Enlightenment, another term used in the Age of Reason. The concept of a social contract, limited government, consent of the governed, and the separation of power started making an impact on people. New beliefs started spreading such as “all men are created equal” and “a king has no divine rights.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote The Social Contract or Principles of Political Right in 1762. His thinking was that humans are essentially free, but over time they become less and less free because of the mere fact that they live in a society. It is only natural in society to see a ruler emerge and to attract followers, who would happily give up their liberty to be under the ruler’s protection. The question that Jean-Jacques Rousseau asked himself was: “How can we be free and live together without being overpowered by the force and coercion of others? The answer he came up with was: “through a social contract.”

A social contract is a process whereby people will come together and agree to form a new single body called the Sovereign. The Sovereign’s mission is to act for the good of all the people and its critical element is the element of reciprocity. The Sovereign is committed to the good of the individuals who constitute it and each individual is likewise committed to the good of the whole. In the American colonies, more and more people were being influenced by this concept and started to believe that they weren’t receiving their end of the bargain and, gradually started to think that it was their duty to rebel against and disobey laws that were viewed unjustly. The American Revolution began in 1775; the root cause of the revolution can be found in the way Great Britain treated its colony, as some kind of faraway outpost, whose sole purpose was to provide for the needs of Great Britain, and for the American people to be subject to and subservient to the will and power of the Crown.

So, please stop asking for permission when you don’t have to. There is a whole raft of things that fall outside the realms of ownership. Not all our wants and desires need to have a possessor, a licensor, or a permit giver.

And this my dear friend, is Your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Self-Help

Essential Life Lessons: Think for Yourself

“Thinking is difficult, that is why most people judge”

Carl Jung

Essential life lessons: Before you assume, learn the fact. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think. Thinking is part of what makes us human. What differentiates humans from animals is our cognitive abilities such as fully developed language, reasoning capabilities, and the ability to make plans for the future. We are all born with the capacity to think, but not everyone is capable of critical thinking, and it is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced with discipline.

Socrates is credited for being the first critical thinker and the Socratic method is one of the earliest critical thinking instructions tools known to man. The Socratic method is described as a form of a cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions.

Essential Life lessons: Think for yourself. I think therefore I am – Rene Descartes

Essential Life Lessons. Think for yourself. I think therefore I am . Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Critical thinking means many things, but at heart, it is a search for the truth. Critical thinking helps us determine what is real and what it is not. But before we are able to exercise our cognitive ability to think critically, we need to have a certain base of knowledge as a starting point. We can only think critically about things we have knowledge of, and we don’t have the structures in place to think deeply if we haven’t spent time mastering a body of knowledge related to that thinking.

Critical thinking can be understood as a deep activity, one that requires the development of new habits of mind. It is not something that comes to us naturally, it requires extensive study and practice. When we have our critical thinking hat on, we develop our problem-solving capabilities and our ability to look at the strengths and weaknesses of an argument; the result is that we are more able to see things clearly and this can help us make better decisions.Critical thinking is a skill; to be good at it, you will have to spend time practicing the art of thinking for yourself.

We all like to think of ourselves as rational, strategic creatures, but in reality, humans are deeply irrational and are often governed by emotion rather than logic. Moreover, we have a tendency to operate within our own echo chamber, where the only information that goes through our brain is information that validates our prior knowledge, vindicates our prior decisions, or sustains our existing beliefs.

“The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling”.

Thomas Sowell

We should get into the habit from time to time of walking down the road less traveled, the one taken by critical thinkers. If you decide to walk down that road it will require that you possess a certain fluidity of mind, some discipline, and be driven by the will to get to the truth of the matter rather than the urge to be righteous no matter what.

Skills required to be able to think for yourself.

Essential life lessons. Skills required to think for yourself. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Rationality. We think critically when we rely on reason rather than emotion when we follow the evidence when we are more concerned with finding the best explanation rather than being right, and when we get into a habit of asking questions.

Self-awareness. We think critically when we recognize that we suffer from emotional impulses, selfish motives, nefarious purposes, narrow-minded vision, and other modes of self-deception.

Open-mindedness. We think critically when we evaluate all reasonable inferences, consider a variety of possible viewpoints or perspectives, remain open to alternative interpretations accept the new explanations, models or paradigms, because it explains the evidence better, is simpler, or has fewer inconsistencies. We cannot reject opinions just because they are unpopular.

Discipline. We think critically when we are precise, meticulous, comprehensive exhaustive, resist manipulation and irrational appeals, and avoid snap judgments.

Judgment. We think critically when we recognize the relevance and/or merit of alternative assumptions and perspectives and recognize the extent and weight of evidence. Critical thinkers are skeptical by nature. They are active and not passive. They ask questions and analyze facts and data. They consistently apply tactics and strategies to uncover meaning or assure their understanding. Critical thinkers are open to new ideas and perspectives. They are willing to challenge their beliefs and investigate competing evidence.

By contrast, passive, non-critical thinkers take a simplistic view of the world. They see things in black and white, as either-or, rather than recognizing a variety of possible understandings. They see questions as yes or no with no subtleties. They fail to see linkages and complexities. They fail to recognize related elements. They take their facts as the only relevant ones. They take their perspectives as the only sensible ones. They consider their goal as the only valid one.

Essential life lessons. Learn to navigate your way through misinformation and disinformation.

Essential Life Lessons. Learn to navigate your way through misinformation and disinformation.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact; everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

Marcus Aurelius

We are living in a world of information overload, data about almost everything is available to all who wish to access it at the click of a button. We are constantly bombarded by a steady stream of information (sometimes misinformation, exaggerations, and mischaracterizations) about a whole range of subject matters, making it very difficult to know what and who to believe.

Critical thinking is important because we need this skill in order to navigate our way through all the information, misinformation, and disinformation that is being served to us on a daily basis on all media platforms.Misinformation is false information that is being spread, regardless of intent to mislead. Dis-information on the other hand is false information that is deliberately misleading or biased information, manipulated narrative or facts, or propaganda that is being spread with the intent to hurt or damage a person or organization.

Trying to nail down the authenticity of anything and verify our knowledge about the world is a tall order. We are huge consumers of all types of media, but often lack the tools to think about how and why we are passively consuming what we watch, read, and share. We are inundated with news. How can one discern between real news and fake news? We are often not thinking about how our own biases affect how we think about the world. We are also getting comfortable in our echo chambers, devoid of people and ideas who challenge our own beliefs.

We expect Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Google to filter the truth for us, rather than putting in the hard work to do some thinking for ourselves. Some social media posts go viral in minutes after they are posted whether they carry with them the truth or an exaggeration of the truth or total falsehood. There is always the option of fact-checking some of the information such as Factcheck.org or Snopes website. The problem is that if the counter-information is not shared in the same manner as the viral post the damage from the false post cannot be counteracted. Another problem that happens more and more these days is that you have to fact-check the fact-checkers who may not be as impartial as one may think. Follow the money and see who is financing those fact-checkers.

There is a scientific term for this in psychology, it is called the Illusory Truth Effect also known as the Reiteration Effect, it is the tendency to believe the information to be correct (even if it is not) after repeated exposure to that same information. Repeated affirmation fixes itself in the mind in such a way that it is accepted in the end as a demonstrated truth. Many studies have been conducted on this, and the conclusion is that familiarity overcomes rationality the truth does not matter. Repetition does!

“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent. The media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. This is the sort of propaganda tactic that I would call psychological warfare.”

Malcolm X

Essential life lessons: Even experts can be wrong.

The other tendency is to relinquish your power to think critically on someone else and rely on the opinion of the experts instead. Society needs experts because those people know a thing or two about their own area of expertise, they are specialized in their field and are being paid to share their knowledge, wisdom, and experience with the world at large.

This said, whenever you decide to ask an expert for his advice on a particular matter, I suggest you put your critical thinking hat on to ensure that you fully understand the advice you are being given, the scope and limitations of the adviser’s expertise, his or her ability to see the problem in its proper context, the possibility that these experts may be subject to bias and in the worst-case scenario, the possibility that the expert may be wrong.

History is full of anecdotes showing that even the experts can be wrong. In 1968, Time Magazine made the observation that “online shopping while entirely feasible will flop.” In 2019, worldwide online shopping reached nearly 43.7 trillion. In 1876, senior executives at Western Union made the following statement: “This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. It is inherently of no value.” In early 2017, Apple announced that it has sold 216 million iPhones.

No one, including experts, really know with absolute certainty what will happen in the future. Every time there is a national disaster, a pandemic, or some dramatic event, we can rely on television news to find an expert to come on TV and generously share his predictions and knowledge on why this happened and what will happen next. The truth of the matter is that sometimes those experts are wrong.

Critical thinking is more than important, it is vital. Without critical thinking, you will be another sheeple lost on the crowd and dutifully following the trend of the moment and absorbing the world’s accepted view. Critical thinking is a skill that should be nurtured and valued.

The world needs critical thinkers more than ever. The ability to think about things in a critical way will make a difference to you and the people around you.

“I think (critically) therefore I am (free).

Knowledge is power and thinking critically is freedom. And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code.

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Self-Help

Rules to Break. The Internet Makes You Anonymous

The book ‘The Rules to Break– A Personal Code for Living Your Life Your Way’ by Richard Templar, exposes all those ‘well-intended’ rules and gracious advice from teachers, parents, friends that somehow become ingrained in us. The trouble is many of those rules often aren’t true and yet they have a major influence on our lives. Instead of blindly accepting the rules set down for us by other people, we should learn to question them, think for ourselves, and be more fluid in our judgment. This article is the first of a series of articles I have decided to write offering you a selection of rules to break and the question of the day is whether the internet makes you anonymous, why freedom of expression is so fundamental, and how Cancel Culture is becoming a thing these days.

Rule to break: The internet makes you anonymous.

Rules to break: The internet makes you ananymous. Photo by @freepik Via freepik.com

The ‘accepted’ rule is that the internet makes you anonymous. Richard Templar disagrees. It’s so easy he said, sitting all on your own in your bedroom with your computer, to think that no one can see you. You use your computer like a mask, except that your computer doesn’t conceal your real identity. You may feel a level of detachment from your social networking pages or your emails, but the people who read them are very conscious that these words or pictures come straight from you. So, you have to take responsibility for what you say and do online. If you wouldn’t say a thing to someone’s face, don’t say it to Facebook either. Be considerate of what pictures you post or the tone of the emails you send. If you wouldn’t do it or say it offline, then don’t do it or say it online. And if in doubt don’t.

New Rule: The internet doesn’t make you anonymous, but it can make you a hero or a prat.

Social media makes you all way too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it”.

Mike Tyson

There are a lot of talks these days about Cancel Culture which is defined by Wikipedia as a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrown out of social media or professional circles either online on social media or in the real world or both. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to be canceled i.e., culturally blocked from having a prominent public platform or career.

On the one hand, we have people who are condoning, encouraging, and participating in cancel culture, those people have a tendency to see themselves as civil rights activists and romanticize their activities as some radical but necessary form of citizen justice. On the other hand, we have the canceled victims who because of a misplaced word, post, tweet, image, or statement (which by the way falls perfectly within the remit of the law) can see their whole life and livelihood destroyed.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of speech, religion, and the press. In the UK, article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998 protects the Freedom of Expression: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authorities and regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art or through any other media of his choice.”

Superior Rule: Freedom of Expression is a fundamental and inalienable right of all individuals

Free Speech. Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

Freedom of expression in all its forms and manifestations is a fundamental and inalienable right of all individuals. Additionally, it is an indispensable requirement for the very existence of a democratic society. At the same time, it is also universally recognized that it is not an absolute right, and every democracy has developed some system of limitations on freedom of expression. Any restrictions on freedom of expression must firstly be provided by law and secondly, it must be for the protection of a legitimate and overriding interest. For example, common limitations or boundaries to freedom of speech relate to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, classified information, copyright violations, trade secrets, etc.

Cancel culture is a direct affront to the freedom of thought, expression, and speech. The idea is to blame, shame, and destroy the target. There are no rules, no code of conduct. It is open season, and it operates beyond the remit of the law of the land. You can’t really describe it as a movement because it has neither leaders nor membership and those who take part in it do so erratically, but it is a practice that is often used in the political arena to ostracize people with a different political opinion. It is not clear whether the goals are to right a specific wrong and redress an injustice, or to speak out against and condemn an untrustworthy system and make a plea for a fairer one or whether it is just done for sport and for the thrill of humiliating and destroying the target.

Whether you condemn or condone cancel culture is up to you and can be the subject of some virulent debates, but for me, Cancel Culture is all about how we communicate and treat each other. Wanting to destroy someone’s life and livelihood just because of their view on a particular subject is taking it way too far; it demonstrates a lack of decency, way too much intolerance, and most of all an astonishing overreach of the power of media. It is not uncommon nowadays to be de-platformed, censored, banned from your social media just because; media companies have granted to themselves the ultimate power of censorship which goes way beyond what the law of the land allows. Think about this for a minute or two and let it sink in.

Rule of Karma

French Revolution. Eugene Delacroix

But beware, because the pendulum always swings in both directions; you could be a perpetrator of Cancel Culture today and become a target tomorrow. A vivid example of this could be found in the French Revolution which began in 1787 as a populist movement against the Monarchy. The uprising culminated in the beheading of Louis XVI and his wife Marie-Antoinette.

Maximilien Robespierre was a controversial figure of this period in French history. He started his life as a lawyer, became a politician and a revolutionary figure of the French Revolution who actively participated in the revolt against the French Monarchy; he had an active role in helping put in place a new Republique based on the principles of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. But as we all know by now, power corrupts, and it corrupts absolutely.

Robespierre became so obsessed with the idea of ‘defending’ the revolutionary ideas at all costs that he became a ruthless and bloody dictator himself, imposing his will right, left, and center and being directly responsible for the massacres and public executions of almost 17,000 ‘dissidents’. Robespierre famously declared that “Without terror virtue is impotent”. This dark period of French history is known as the Reign of Terror.

Eventually, a group of brave souls decided that enough was enough, the fearmongering and killing had to stop; so, they decided to give Robespierre a taste of his own medicine. They took it upon themselves to arrest Robespierre and his companions in crimes and publicly executed/canceled them on the same guillotine used for Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. This final execution put an end to the Reign of Terror.

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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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About the Book

Media Exposure – Conquer the Long & Winding Road to Happiness

Thank you  to the Indian Magazine Inidna for writing 8 articles on This Is Your Quest and for recommending my book to their readers! 

According to the journalist Dipsikha Samantaray This Is Your Quest is one of the best and most inspirational books of all time. In fact it is one of the best self-help book published in the past decades!

According to journalist Soudami Mohapatra:

This Is Your Quest will take you on a roller coaster ride through in-depth discussions on philosophy, socio-economic discourse and truth-seeking subjects. This book will entice, surprise, challenge your point of view but will also inspire and guide you to find fulfillment and find answers from within self.

Links to all the articles are below, thank you Indidna!

Boost up your self-confidence and develop the skills of learning from the failures

This Is Your Quest: Directing You Towards Success, Happiness & Prosperity

Give Yourself An Inspiration Boost With Book ‘This Is Your Quest”

This Is Your Quest – Your Guide To Happiness, Prosperity & Success

What Advantages We will Get from the Book “This is Your Quest”?

“This is your Quest”- A Book about Prosperity, Self-help, Happiness, Philosophy & Success

Gracing with ease and strengthening life using self-help

Conquer the long and winding road to happiness

What Advantages We will Get from the Book “This is Your Quest”?


If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, or you may also like:

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.