Thinking may be the most personal connection we humans have with ourselves. It may help a student solve a math problem, write a paper for their English class, or even help a couple to resolve an issue. The mind is powerful and if not properly maintained, can be harmful to yourself.

The mind is a strong tool which is integrated into every human. It is able to accomplish tasks, build values and beliefs, and pick up new and useful habits. But with such a useful and capable mind, comes responsibility. Everyone has heard of the phrase “stop to think before doing something.” I’m going to take it one step back and say: if someone doesn’t think before thinking, they would be led to believe whatever thoughts are thrown at them. If this is the case, this is harmful to everyone who does this; because as humans, we are constantly being challenged on our viewpoints weather it’s at school or outside of school. If you can’t back up or argue for what you believe in, people will challenge you and could pick you apart and leave you not sure of what you believe. Thinking about how you think could be beneficial for your everyday life.

Everyone has a different viewpoint these days, some viewpoints stronger than others. Some people just want you to believe or think in the way that they want you to think in. People could be pulled in by others and forget about their own viewpoints and only make it be about the other’s viewpoints. So who’s responsibility is it to make sure that the information you store in your brain is what you want it to be? It’s yours, although one might blame the source for writing a piece that has bias, or a teacher that forces a mindset onto their students. Although in most cases, the responsibility is of the one whom’s brain is being feed the information. For example, when reading articles online or when you talk with others, a good way to interpret good or bad info is to ask yourself: “Is this trying to sway my opinion or make me think a certain way?” If so, this is “bad info” and should be recognized by the person listening to the speaker or reading the article and not let that consume you and make you believe in something you wouldn’t if you didn’t consume that information. The information is basically propaganda but in a less obvious form. If the information isn’t trying to force a mindset on you, that information is considered “good info” and should give facts or opinions from a non-forceful position like a teacher or an older sibling. If the information is trying to make you think a certain way or sway your opinion, that information is considered propaganda and should be carefully interpreted.

As a student at Naperville North, I can relate to the idea of how I think about thinking when I’m having trouble in a subject in school. For example: when in Math, Science, or English class, I maintain a very logical and reasonable mindset in hopes of doing the best I can in those subjects. In other words, I constantly challenge my thinking so i’m prepared to be challenged with my ideas in school. Thinking about how I think has been a big part of my school life because it allows me to assess not on a numbers scale of how I’m doing in the class, but lets me assess in my own personal way how I am doing the best I can.

As Frank Jackson once said, “watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character.” Outlaw suggests that your thoughts will eventually become what you say and what you say will become what you do and eventually who you are. Notice Outlaw states that what you do, what you say, and who you become all begin with your thoughts. But by going one step further to before what one’s thoughts are and to be thinking about: “are these thoughts my original thoughts and is the information not leading me to think in a certain way,” has become a crucial life technique for me.

– By: Jason Zhang(AMG member), Naperville North High School Student