Most people assume opinions are regulated by common sense. Nonsense. Speaking of opinions, common sense is about as common as my kids agreeing with all I say. When it comes to opinions, here is my opinion of what I think of opinions. Opinions are based on experience, what you went through in life, what you have seen, felt, heard, smelled and tasted. Most individuals have opinions based on what they have read in the papers, seen on TV, or were told by others: so-called second hand opinions. In certain countries this is called propaganda. Some have opinions that were imposed on them, others have them by their own accord. However, most people keep their opinions to themselves: the silent majority.
People’s own opinions are biased: their own bias. If you claim that they are not, then you are most probably giving opinions of others, which are their bias. Own opinions are more difficult to express than just parroting opinions of others. There are no rules or qualifiers for giving your opinion. Everybody has the right to say what he or she feel about anything they choose, from weighty political issues to trivial matters, like toilet paper over or under. Nobody can force you keep your opinion to yourself, unless you are living under some autocratic or theocratic regime. People might prefer you keep your opinion under lock-and-key, but in a democratic and free society, this should not be the case. Expressing your opinion is something you, and you alone should decide.
Sharing your opinion is not to putting someone in a headlock until he or she agrees with you. “Torture them long enough, and they will confess”, is not a method of the free world. Obviously your opinions will change with time. You are not static. Your opinions are always evolving because every second of every day, you experience new things that are an integral part of living, the act of educating yourself and learning anything about everything. It is called being alive. Being passionate about your points of view is commendable, though you should never expect others to abandon their own thoughts in favor of yours. Defending your beliefs does not mean that they are weak. To the contrary, it means that your beliefs are important to you, that you care enough about discussing them.
Innovation is the result of creative minds of people with opinions.
Expressing your opinion can potentially hurt feelings, step on toes, or even evoke harsh criticism. However, sharing ideas is how conversations start, how friendships are formed, and how change happens. If people can’t take your opinion, they may not be company you want to hang out or work with. What makes sense and is obvious to one, is not always crystal-clear to others. Never assume that all men are equal, meaning mentally, of course. Rejecting someone else’s opinion does not make your own opinion any more valid. Instead, it dismisses your value as a discourse participant.
People that raise their voice or start a shouting contest, screaming out loud, are usually overly self-opinionated. They think that by shouting, interrupting others, or, worse even, preventing others from speaking, will prove them right. How wrong they are. A wise audience will look through them. However, gullible masses can be easily incited by any crap, as long as the level of excitement is raised by a screaming, adrenaline-infused hothead. Examples abound of raging despots that started wars or triggered massacres, no matter how suicidal.
You can be opinionated, but if new insights can convince you, nothing should prevent you to rethink and adapt. Changing your mind does not mean losing face. It means you are open-minded. Never be overwhelmed by people that try to impress, or worse even, put you down because they claim to be experts, or have piles of evidence and statistical data from even bigger experts, showing that you are wrong, backward or dumb. No matter how great those expert positions, your opinion is and will remain your opinion. Do not suppress your opinion because of fear being the only person to hold those views. You can never predict if there are people around you with the same views. Brazen opinions can potentially stir up trouble or upset people. If so, it can mean you are onto something. Handle such circumstances with tact.
Being aware of how your opinion makes others feel should be important to you, but that does not mean you should change your stance because someone responded unfavorably to your ideas. Take everything and everyone into consideration. Opinions always benefit from becoming more nuanced. In groups you might have to fight for your opinion, even though you are entitled to your own opinion. No matter how many people tell you differently, it is your basic right to have your own opinions about everything, no matter what. Never be afraid to adapt or change your opinion. Stubbornness is not prudent. People change. The environment changes. Situations change. Opinions are mutable. Do not be afraid to change directions or alter thoughts. Being opinionated means you are thinking, trying to make sense of ideas, putting things in perspective. There is absolutely nothing negative about that.
Do not be led by the masses. Stay away from the herd mentality. Stand out. Express yourself. Make yourself heard. Most inventions and ideas come from opinionated people, people with a dream, an own mind, an own belief, an own vision, an own understanding.
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900), De Profundis, 1905.
Try not to be most people.
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