Are you an independent thinker? Do you hate influencers cause you never get influenced by others? Do you make up your own mind and stick to it, when it’s the right decision? Do you believe rules are meant to be broken? Then you just might be one from the rare species called independent thinkers. Check out the signs you are an independent thinker and know for sure.
Wait, what is an independent thinker?
Independent thinkers ‘think’ as an individual, not as a herd. They don’t do what others tell them to do, they don’t follow beliefs or notions for the sake of it, and they base their decisions on their own values, emotions, and experiences. When you think independently, you have an innate confidence to make valuable decisions based on your own inherent intelligence. You rely more on your own judgment than popular opinions. You are driven by your own values and perspectives instead of blindly following others. You appreciate support and guidance from others, but you do what you feel is best.
So what does it mean to be an independent thinker? Independent thinkers see the world through their own lens and develop their thoughts and belief accordingly. You don’t let your thoughts get colored by someone else’s opinions and you don’t accept new information as it is without doing your own research. And this is one of the most common signs you are an independent thinker. You are gifted with the courage to stand up for your own thoughts and opinions even if they are different from everyone else. You don’t silence your voice in the loudness of the majority as you never feel vulnerable because you hate the safety of silence.
Independent thinkers are rare creatures in our modern society. They don’t follow the herd mentality, nor do they conform to social conditioning or programming. You don’t believe that the majority is always right as you prefer the inconvenient truth. You don’t care about fitting in with the crowd nor and you don’t care about being called “normal”, whatever that means.
You never suffer from cognitive biases and don’t fall for stereotypes. This is why independent thinkers are exceptionally imaginative and creative which helps you gain mental clarity and make the best decisions and choices.
Your choices are determined by your critical thinking skills, perceptions and the conclusions you make. You are mindful about your thoughts and you don’t follow public opinion mindlessly.
So are you an independent thinker? Check out the traits and characteristics of an independent thinker and find out how rare you truly are.
Signs you are an independent thinker
How can you know if someone’s thoughts are free from any influence? What are the traits and signs of an independent thinker? Here is a quick list of all the important signs you are an independent thinker and don’t mindlessly believe the majority –
1. You don’t play the victim
You control your own actions and don’t see yourself as a victim of the circumstances. You hold yourself accountable for your own behaviors and actions. You are not a fan of self-pity as you prefer fighting till your last breath. You focus more on the solution than the problem, you focus on being grateful for what you have than complaining about what you don’t have. You turn challenges into opportunities to get smarter and stronger because you know you have everything you need to build the life you want. Independent thinkers are not victims, they are victors.
2. You think – critically, analytically and outside the box
Thinking outside the box is one of the most basic signs you are an independent thinker and among the most crucial independent thinking skills. Independent thinking is closely intertwined with critical thinking. It enables you to analyze and perceive situations and information without any bias. Your thoughts rely more on evidence than blind belief. Author Anna LeMind, B.A., founder of Learning-mind, explains “Thinking independently means using your critical thinking skills and staying loyal to yourself, even if your opinion goes against that of other people.”
Critical thinking is “the mental process of actively and skillfully perception, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of collected information through observation, experience and communication that leads to a decision for action,” explains a 2014 study. As you don’t just believe what people tell you, the originality in your thoughts helps you find alternate solutions every time.
3. You don’t care about popular opinions
Independent thinkers are not blind followers. You don’t believe things just because someone told you so. You believe in asking questions and verify the legitimacy of things that are being said, whether by someone influential or by your own loved ones. You have the strength to walk against public opinion and go against the crowd to protect your truth. People who think independently tend to be genuine, are not pretentious and hate showing off. You realize that flawed opinions don’t necessarily become the truth simply because the majority of people believe it.
4. You focus on facts
Independent thinkers focus on evidence and facts first before anything else. You reach your own conclusions based on reliable information, not based on hype or fads. You like to take decisions after carefully considering all available information and applying critical thinking to find alternate routes. You don’t jump to conclusions, you reach there by double-checking every piece of information available to you to ensure it is objective & factual. This is one of the signs you are an independent thinker you can relate to if you are one.
Related: The 4 Types Of Intuitive Thinking
5. You believe in yourself
Self-confidence is one of the key traits of independent thinkers. You never hesitate to share your opinions because you know they are not based on ego or false beliefs. As you rely on your instincts, judgment, facts and beliefs, you know you are right about certain things and feel confident enough to bet your reputation on it.
However, you also have the strength to admit your mistakes when you are wrong as it is a learning experience for you.
6. You are aware of yourself
Being introspective, reflective and self-aware, independent thinkers are conscious of their own thoughts, emotions and perceptions. You can easily sense when your emotions, thoughts and behaviors are not in alignment with your instincts. As you can clearly see and focus on yourself, you tend to be more creative, confident and open-minded. This helps you to communicate better, make better choices and build healthy relationships.
When needed, you question even your own beliefs to understand what truly matters and to find meaning in life. Self-awareness is one of the most crucial signs you are an independent thinker.
7. You accept differing opinions
Although independent thinkers develop their own opinions, it doesn’t mean they criticize or humiliate others with opposing views. When you think independently, you keep your mind open to different views. Instead of putting others down to protect your beliefs, you simply agree to disagree and give them the respect they deserve. You are highly tolerant and don’t look down on people from different backgrounds, races, sexual orientations or religions.
You know how to treat people right and focus on building emotional connection with others by highlighting similarities rather than differences. You value others’ opinions as you do your own.
8. You embrace doubts
One of the most common signs you are an independent thinker is self-doubt. Independent thinkers are not narcissists. They don’t meaninglessly hold on to their beliefs to protect their ego or self-esteem. As an independent thinker, you are full of doubts but you take steps to get clarifications and clarity. You realize that there is no such thing as the absolute truth when it comes to personal opinions and judgments and so there is always scope for doubt. But you thrive in this uncertainty as it drives you to seek more information and make clearer decisions.
9. You never seek attention or validation
Independent thinkers don’t share their opinions or stand their ground to seek attention. You don’t care about getting validated by others as you tend to do the right thing even when no one is watching. You believe in your own opinions even when others don’t. Getting praised or validated is not your objective for developing your own judgment.
10. You seek the truth, even if it’s harsh
Seeking truth is one of the hidden signs you are an independent thinker. People who love to think independently are not content with soothing and sweet lies, they thrive in the brutality of raw and real truth. “Independent thinking means embracing the truth, even when it’s unattractive and painful,” adds author Anna LeMind, B.A. You prefer painful truths over false, pretty illusions, even when things turn out differently from what you expected.
You don’t follow the crowd, do you?
People who don’t follow the crowd are the ones who pave new paths. Here are some other quick signs you are an independent thinker and following the herd like a sheep is not in your genes –
- You don’t ‘obey’ or follow orders simply because you were asked to
- You don’t get swayed by anyone’s opinions until it’s based on facts
- You never act or behave out of character due to peer pressure
- You don’t trust anyone, even authority figures, blindly
- You have a flexible and open mind & approach towards life
- You believe in solving problems, rather than highlighting problems.
- You don’t hold any strong views on religion or politics
- You read a lot about things you don’t know
- You are highly confident of yourself
- You don’t prefer stereotypes or labels
- You ask a lot of questions
These are only some of the ways to become an independent thinker as one can think freely in any way they want simply by being creative.
Independent thinking makes the world go round
Independent thinker traits make you loyal to your own self. It shows that you think for yourself regardless of who is against you. When we don’t think for ourselves, we allow other people to influence our thoughts and control our lives. When we don’t think for ourselves, we can’t speak our mind, which in turn prevents us from making our own decisions.
However, when you think freely and share your unique beliefs with others, you add value to your community. Not only you can help others gain a new perspective, you can enhance your sense of self-worth and experience satisfaction, instead of frustration. By learning to identify the signs you are an independent thinker, you can hone your critical thinking abilities and stand out from the crowd always.
But by blindly following orders, we stop ourselves from seeking answers to questions that arise from deep within us. This leads to poor quality and ineffective thinking that results in horrible decisions, catastrophic behaviors and negative actions in both our personal and professional lives.
However, independent thinkers know how to change their thoughts and beliefs when presented with facts and new information. They don’t tie their ego or sense of self worth with their personal beliefs, as they are more concerned with the truth than with being right.
Independent thinking empowers you to become a victor instead of being a victim.
So go ahead and think. Think free and for yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is an example of independent thinking?
Reading wisely is an example of thinking independently. Reading helps to expand our knowledge and understanding. By reading books or articles, one can gain new perspectives and change their views, when they are wrong.
What does it mean to be an independent critical thinker?
An independent critical thinker has independent and reflective thought patterns and uses reason to make clear decisions and judgments. They are more reliant on themselves for making decisions than on others’ opinions.
What makes a person an independent thinker?
Having an open mind, a tendency to verify facts and the ability to make decisions for oneself is what makes someone an independent thinker. They are capable of original and intelligent thinking as they think as an individual, for themselves.