As a student who studies extensively in an attempt to improve my essays, I have grown to become very critical of articles, views and political ideas. This is not in a way that narrows my mind but rather one which means that if I hold a belief, it is a tried and tested belief which I can back up with facts and figures.

 

This does not mean that my belief is always correct, nor does it mean that it is better than anyone else’s, but what it does mean is that when I discuss it I can make people understand and agree with where I am coming from.

 

A very brief example and one which I hope to cover in the next few weeks is the economic benefits of reducing wealth inequality in advanced economies. I started to have this idea after I wrote an essay on the effect of inequality on economies and once I read reports by the UN, OECD, IMF and various individual economists I saw the empirical proof behind the idea. I won’t go into this today though as I hope to create a series on this idea over the coming weeks.

 

The point of my article today, however, is to help you, as an individual, to think more. No matter what the media or anyone else tells you, there is nothing wrong with having an opinion, even if it is controversial – what is wrong is when you have an opinion and have no evidence to back it up and still try to persuade people that you are right.

 

Think of it like this: someone is murdered, they’re found with 2 bullet wounds to the back and it looks like they bled to death. Now, there is nothing wrong with you believing that they were poisoned and died from poisoning, not the bullet wounds – you may even be correct and they were already dead! But what you can’t do is claim that they were poisoned and insist that they must have died that way even after the expert coroner, toxicologist, detectives and murderers note proves you otherwise.

 

That’s just ignorance.

 

So my simple message is this: hold on to your beliefs, but try and test them.

 

If you read something in the news, see where the data is coming from, see who is writing the article, be so critical that no one will ever question your judgement again.

 

Then, what you’ll find is that people will believe what you say, people will listen and then you will be the one under the microscope.

 

-PJH