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It's A Thin Line Between Valid Skepticism and Foolish Contrarianism

It doesn't matter how much we push ourselves mentally, spiritually and emotionally, we will never have the answers to some of life's most interesting questions. And if we aren't careful, our quest to acquire answers to difficult questions that don't have real answers has the potential to turn us into foolish contrarians that waste years of our lives consuming and regurgitating useless conspiracies that impede intellectual growth.

What's the difference between a wise individual and a fool? A wise person understands the key distinctions that separate fact from fiction. A true intellectual understands the difference between a valid theory and a non-vetted idea that a grifter is using to appeal to those that believe they can YouTube or meme themselves into being smarter than everyone else. A fool fails to understand that there is a science and strategy to becoming wiser and smarter. Just because an idea is different or appeals to our personal bias and preferred sensibilities doesn't make it true.

As a Black man that understands America's history of purposely harming African Americans, I know it's in my best interest to maintain a healthy level of skepticism towards the government, pharmaceutical industry and the education system; as all 3 have a vested interested in maintaining the status quo that keeps my community in a subservient position. My healthy level of skepticism doesn't mean that I automatically assume that all information that comes from the aforementioned entities is patently false. It just means that I spend more time researching and working through my concerns when information and guidance is given from entities that I don't fully trust. After working through my concerns sometimes I conclude that the information that I was initially skeptical about is actually correct. In other instances, after conducting research I'm unable to reach a solid conclusion that addresses my concerns. When this scenario occurs, I side with my intuition and keep my decision to myself. I don't regurgitate unvetted perspectives or share my ideas, thoughts or concerns as if they are facts because I understand that those that are easily influenced may be harmed by my opinion or guidance if it is incorrect.

As it pertains to conducting research it's important for us to acknowledge that we are living in an era where people are easily influenced by those that aren't experts on the topics that they are speaking on. In order to conduct solid research, we must first vet and understand who the source is. Does the individual that's speaking on a complex subject or controversial issue have the credibility and credentials to share and explain reliable information regarding the topic in question? Or is the individual just clout chasing and making a profit off the clicks and views from individuals who aren't willing to perform their own due diligence? When listening to someone who's a convincing orator or entertaining facilitator it's important for us to remember that being an entertaining speaker doesn't mean that the person is speaking facts. It usually just means the speaker knows how to create engaging content that they can monetize.

Ultimately, I think we are missing what this Pandemic is attempting to teach us when it comes to understanding and disseminating information. Think about how frequently the experts have been wrong and how many times they have had to retract or correct information. An expert is an individual that has spent a lot of time perfecting their craft, yet this Pandemic has proven time and time again that even the experts aren't always right. Think about how long Dr. Fauci has been considered one of the foremost experts in his field and the extreme hit his credibility has taken because he has at times felt compelled or pressured to speak before concrete information is known. Now think about all the topics and subjects that you aren't an expert on that you constantly speak on. The same skepticism that you have for others when they are wrong, keep that same energy towards yourself when you share ideas and theories that end up being incorrect. Be man or woman enough to admit when you are wrong. More importantly, be willing to become more consistent in vetting your ideas and thoughts before you share them with others.

Is it fair to constantly magnify the mistakes and missteps of others, but conveniently move on when our theories and ideas are proven to be 100% wrong? Now think about where your foundational knowledge resides on the expertise spectrum when it comes to finances, spirituality, physical health, mental health, and parenting (if you have kids). Are you where you want or need to be financially? Have you even read the book that provides guidance on the religion that you follow? Are you in great shape mentally and physically?

You may be wondering why I'm mentioning finances, spirituality, physical/mental health and parenting. The Pandemic in many instances has caused the world to slow down, which means that most of us have more time to focus on the people and things that we claim to care most about. But in many instances it seems that instead of focusing on how we can be better parents or become more fit financially and physically, we have instead decided to double down on foolish debates and immerse ourselves more into the time-wasting trappings of social media. Opportunity is knocking on the door and is flabbergasted by our refusal to take advantage of how much the world has slowed down.

Think About It:

1) You aren't going out as much as you used to, so this should be the perfect opportunity to double your savings, right?! Probably not, because you ignored the important message that the Pandemic was trying to teach you about financial freedom. 4 shots of Grey Goose cost the same amount as the bottle, but instead of saving the influx of cash that you have from not going out, you decided it was a sign from God to triple your Amazon purchases.

Think About It:

2) You have more time to read books that could improve the way you think, parent, treat others or even deepen your knowledge on the religion that you claim to follow, right?! Probably not, because you decided that posting the books on Social Media was the equivalent of reading and that the knowledge in the books that you refuse to read would transfer to you via osmosis.

This Pandemic is nearing it's 2-year anniversary and based on all the indicators, life as we know it has been fundamentally altered. Has your way of thinking evolved to ensure that you will flourish in the future? The opportunity to become the person that you have always desired to be is knocking at the door. Are you ready to open the door and start your journey to greatness?

If you enjoyed this blog post you can read more of my thoughts and ideas about life by purchasing my novel Knewgoat.

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