If we don’t own our minds, we’re like pawns in a game where we’re not the player. We’re being played. Corporations, governments, advertisers and even religions (oops, I said it) have gone to great lengths to control your mind. Sometimes their tactics are obvious, but most of the time they are downright sneaky.
If we want to ensure that we’re living for ourselves and not serving some corporation’s agenda, we have to put on our mental armor. We have to arm our minds so we can first know when their is an assault on our sovereignty.
Here are 10 tools you can use to avoid brainwashing and retain the ownership of your mind:
1. Decrypt media spin.
The media uses many different tools and angles to sensationalize things that aren’t inherently sensational. “Experts generally agree” can mean a community college professor and “recent surveys find” can mean the polling of 10 people.
Be wary of any claims where the sources aren’t explicitly stated. (See this article for understanding media spin.)
2. Break through the hype.
Have you ever noticed that the most genuinely talented people don’t feel the need to convince you of their ability? If something is authentically awesome, it advertises itself.
All hype isn’t necessarily bad, but having some man scream at you about the amazing cleaning power of OxyClean is most likely an attempt to scare you into believing something.
3. Don’t buy into scare tactics.
This approach is most popular among the military. This is for an obvious reason: to make you conform and adhere to the purpose of the larger whole. On one hand, I understand why they have to do what they do. But on the other, I am wary of any group the discourages questioning the command. If you don’t think the purpose of your troop’s mission ethical, sorry, you don’t get an opinion. If you don’t agree with the chain of command, too bad.
Sometimes we think there is no other choice but to follow the leader with our heads down. But if we just look a little further, there’s usually another way we didn’t see before.
4. Survey says.
Surveys and statistics are often skewed to support the agenda of the presenter. Just because a survey says something, doesn’t mean you have to believe it. Even if it’s from a reputable source, keep in mind that everyone has an agenda. Even Green Peace. Even Obama. Even your mom.
5. Be conscious of subliminal messages.
Advertisers have cleverly discovered that they can sell you something much easier if it’s associated with a certain lifestyle. A Mercedes equals luxury and high class; a Jeep means you’re rugged and adventurous. Cut through the BS. You define the way you live; your lifestyle doesn’t define you.
6. Don’t be a sheep.
The word “authority” derives from the word author, which simply means the one who originated the idea. It doesn’t mean they are right, or that they are the end of the line. Get as many different opinions as possible before making a decision and trust your common sense.
7. Be certain, or circumvent.
Have you ever noticed that extremely enthusiastic people have an uncanny ability to sway others? Their unshakeable certainty lures others into follow them, simply because they don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other. If you don’t know, don’t let someone else’s certainty force you to make a choice. Do your own research and come to your own conclusion.
8. Listen to your gut.
Follow your gut/intuition. If you think something’s shady, chances are it is. Your mind will usually want to prolong making a decision until it gets all the facts straight. You’ll usually find that after you’ve sorted everything out your gut was right all along. Save yourself some time and trust yourself.
9. Avoid groupthink.
Following the crowd is fine if you’re making that choice consciously. We’ve all heard the saying “if so and so told you to jump off a cliff, would you do it?” I always thought that that was the most idiotic question. That doesn’t prove anything. That’s just stupid. And it’s not what I’m talking about here.
What I mean is following the group because you’re afraid of standing out. You’re afraid of being seen, being heard. Because, geez, if you do that you might actually have to defend your opinion.
Don’t be afraid to be different. Ghandi was different. Einstein was different. People used to think they were crazy, radical and had possible birth defects (just kidding). Now they are considered geniuses.
10. Don’t be a trend-junkie.
“Newly reformulated” shaving cream is often just a newly reformulated packaging design. If you have to buy a new version of your camera, phone, or iPod every 6 months, are you buying it, or is it buying you? Do you really own your things, or do they own you?