You have the power to make your own decisions about issues important to your life–use it!

Knowledge brings understanding; more fully understanding an issue (immigration, health care, abortion, border security, taxation, tariffs, climate change, etc., etc.) reduces fear and anxiety about that issue.  Many people and organizations across the political spectrum push fear to make you act in a way that they want.

Make an effort to better understand the issues that are important in your life.  Remember that the truth is often complex; be skeptical of simple answers.  The big issues that affect millions are hard to solve, and any true solution is usually a compromise.  As Oscar Wilde said “the truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

So, make the effort to gain knowledge and understand, reduce the fear and anxiety, set your own value on information important to your life; make your own decisions–do not let others make important decisions for you!

To gain understanding, to reduce fear, to make your own decisions, try these guidelines —

Seek information, not affirmation: understand the algorithm-driven thought bubble of social media; social media can surround you with people and bots who seem to share many of your opinions.  That may seem comforting, but true understanding of an issue usually requires breaking that bubble and going outside your comfort zone.

Source + Motivation = Value:  always go to the original source of the information, if you can.  And, think about the context in which that information was produced; what was the motivation of the people who created that information–commercial, political, religious, etc.?  You can decide for yourself the real value of that information.

Dig deeper–do not rely on just one source of information:  in order to truly understand, look for evidence that supports and contradicts a finding, an analysis, an assertion.  Seek opinions other than your own.

See a list of questions to help you think about the value of information important to your life (Kevin Engel, November 15, 2018).

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