Do your research
No matter the topic in life, do your research. Now, more than ever, we are entrenched in the media, and it shows. Bias runs rampant in everyday news, and stories are often altered to sway the reader's opinion. Without proper context, people can misconstrue anything.
Studies show that people are quicker to register blatantly false narratives into their minds because it's easier to think about rather than critically analyzing what they've heard." Meaning, much of the general population doesn't want to make an effort necessary to understand a subject thoroughly. People who are misinformed fall into two categories, those who simply don't know about a subject matter and those who have an idea but aren't particularly interested in researching to gain clarity, and ultimately, go against the status quo. The misinformation era is real, and if you pull up a chair to the table of facts, you better have conducted some in-depth research.
When discussing research and its importance, the immediate, relevant subject that comes to mind is the President of the United States' upcoming election. Much of the masses already have their President-elect picked out. But why? Is it because their parents were registered democrats or republicans? Or because they genuinely believe in the candidate? Is it because they trust the media's portrayal of the nominees? Or have they done extensive research on the actual accomplishments of both parties and candidates? Party affiliation isn't inherited, or at least, it shouldn't be. We've all fallen victim to picking up habits our parents had, both good and bad. But as your own person, it's your job to complete your due diligence, and ultimately, think for yourself.
Don't get me wrong; it's easy to fall in line, especially when it comes to your family. If, while growing up, your parents always said something was right, then you'll most likely think it is. Yet, the older you get, the more you realize you have a mind of your own and can see things for what they are to you. Throughout this process, you realize your parents aren't always right, and in some cases, are flat out wrong.
It doesn't mean your parents weren't trying to guide you in the best possible direction, but often, without the proper help, they could project their issues onto you. Your parents, despite their superhero appearance and capabilities, are human. To that point, any significant figure in your life is. I value the input of my parents and those close to me tremendously. Without them, I wouldn't have made it this far, and they've helped mold me into the person I am today. But I've also allowed myself to get this far by going against the grain at times, and that can't go unnoticed.
In life, you must think for yourself. You can't always rely on someone else to be there for you. When you're in a job interview, you have to answer the questions alone. When you're paying your monthly bills, you could have financial assistance, but you alone are responsible for the payment. When you have to study for an important test, you could receive tutoring, but you have to take the exam yourself. It's not to say you don't need assistance, as we all need some along the way. But large in part, your prosperity depends on you. The lesson here is to fend for yourself not merely by being a responsible adult but taking the additional steps and initiative to become successful by doing research.
Every single thing in life has some context. As mentioned in the upcoming election example, what is the context for picking your candidate? Think about it. If you can't articulately answer the question, ask yourself why. What are your motivations? Is it to please the people around you? Or to stand by the person you are? My fear, as with any election, is that there are more individuals who either don't know about the resources and tools available at their disposal to gain better insight into what is going on or are politically ignorant and don't care enough to give maximal research efforts than there are those who complete complex research and are privy to current events. This reality often leads to one in however many voters being unknowledgeable about both candidates' facts, which can lead to a nominee becoming elected based on uninformed opinions.
These days people rely on social media and their national and local television stations to keep them "in the know" for critical issues. To many people, this isn't a problem. But for critically thinking viewers, it's unintelligible. Because they see how without proper context, the stones cast in the verbiage used by media members in news stories can sway an individual by building a negative image of a candidate in their head. Or it can feed into preexisting ideas from a voter's childhood about specific candidates and party affiliations.
Context means everything, whether for this election, the next, or any other substantial social, economic, and political controversy; I hope everyone carefully examines every detail, not just those that favor their ideologies. Individuals accomplish this due diligence by using research studies that contain minimal to no bias and informing themselves on facts of the matter, rather than following suit and conforming to others' opinions.