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Putting Someone Else’s Word Above Your Own Thinking

Do you believe that others automatically know better than you? When you want to know something, do you take someone else’s word for it, instead of thinking for yourself? Putting someone else’s word above your own thinking is one of the most life damaging things you can do to yourself.  The following excerpt from my upcoming book, This Is Your Life: No Apology Needed, will show you why:

Your quality of life ultimately depends on the most important choice you make as a human being:

  • You can choose to do your own thinking OR
  • You can choose to hand your thinking over to someone else.

Ayn Rand has identified this choice as your basic moral choice, a choice that determines the quality of every aspect of your entire life. She says, “If devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” [See “Galt’s Speech” in Rand’s For The New Intellectual, New American Library, NY, 1964.]

What Does It Mean To Take Someone Else’s Word For It?

Taking someone else’s word for it means turning your back on your own thinking and going by somebody else’s say-so. When you take somebody else’s word for it, it means you don’t trust your own thinking, you are too lazy to do your own thinking, or you don’t want to take responsibility for your lifeIt is an excuse for ignoring nature’s laws of cause and effect, disowning the consequences of your own actions, and blaming others when things go wrong.

Allowing Other People To Determine Your Physical And Spiritual Life

This has a profound effect on your life. You will act one way if you think for yourself and an entirely different way if you hand your thinking over to someone else. You will have one set of values if you think for yourself and another set of values if you hand your thinking over to someone else. You will have one standard of behavior if you think for yourself and a totally different standard of behavior if you hand your thinking over to someone else. And you will feel certain kinds of emotions if you think for yourself and completely different kinds of emotions if you hand your thinking over to someone else. In other words, you will have one kind of physical and spiritual life if you think for yourself, and another kind of physical and spiritual life if you let someone else do your thinking for you.

“Hand-Me-Down” Thinking

Remember Barbara Streisand’s song, “Second-Hand Rose”? When I was a little girl, I was always wearing second-hand clothes from my older cousins. These “hand-me-down” clothes never fit me very well and always felt uncomfortable. Oh, how I wanted to have a new dress of my own! When I learned to sew and wore a new dress that I made for myself, I felt splendid!

The same thing goes with beliefs. When you blindly accept someone else’s beliefs or opinions, it is like accepting a “hand-me-down” idea in place of your own thinking. Miss Rand called it “second-hand” thinking, and, just like second-hand clothing, second-hand thinking never fits you or feels comfortable. When you live a “second-hand” life, you never really live a life you can call your own. [See “The Nature Of The Second-Hander,” For The New Intellectual.]

The Danger Of Taking Someone Else’s Word For It

Instead of doing your own thinking, you become dependent upon the opinions of others for how you should live. While you can learn from others, it jeopardizes your life to substitute their thinking for your own. “Taking someone else’s word for it” is an open invitation for bullying on the personal level, and for tyranny on a grand scale. Adolf Hitler was fully aware of this when he said, “What luck for rulers that men do not think.”  [Internet Quote]

When you take “somebody else’s word for it,” you allow that “somebody else” to get in the driver’s seat for your life. You turn your life over to their control. You end up living your life according to what “they” say, instead of by your own best judgment.

The Result

When you allow other people to make you believe that it’s “too selfish” to rely on your own thinking and judgment, you end up living by other people’s say-so. One of the women in my survey stayed in a miserable marriage for eighteen years because she accepted other people’s ideas of what it means to be a good person and a good wife. When you take somebody else’s word for it, you end up betraying your own values, goals and dreams. You end up sacrificing your life to other people’s agendas and turning your back on yourself. Then you feel empty, resentful, and unfit for living.

Avoid The Mistake Of Taking Someone Else’s Word For It

You can avoid the mistake of taking someone else’s word for it by discovering a Recipe For Living that shows you a reliable way to acquire knowledge so that you can think for yourself. Thinking for yourself is the only way you can be true to your own values and goals and live fully and happily as a human being. This will become crystal clear when you discover the three basic Recipes For Living and the huge difference each one can make to your life.

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