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John Adair's 100 Greatest Ideas for Smart Decision Making by John Adair

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Idea 21: Think for yourself

One day the mother of England’s famous poet Shelley was discussing her son’s future education.

‘Why not send him somewhere where they will teach him to think for himself?’ her friend suggested.

‘Teach him to think for himself? Oh, Heavens above, teach him rather to think like other people,’ she replied, in horror at the thought.

None of us can entirely escape thinking like other people, for society couldn’t exist without some common patterns of thoughts and values. But the phrase thinking for oneself suggests someone with an independent mind or attitude.

To be independent of mind means that you don’t depend on any other person for your essential opinions. You never bestow on any authority the right to control your ...

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