Have Your Own Opinion

Have Your Own Opinion - introduction

Are the opinions of other people discouraging you? Do you place the correct value and importance on what others say, or do you change course with every wind of opinion that hits you? If there is one thing the world is never short of it is opinions. But not all opinions are necessarily based on facts.

An opinion is a point of view, a belief, judgment or attitude. It therefore means that an opinion is not always a truth or fact. John Moore said “Your opinion is your opinion, your perception is your perception - do not confuse them with "facts" or "truth". Wars have been fought and millions have been killed because of the inability of men to understand the idea that everybody has a different viewpoint.”

Have Your Own Opinion – we can disagree

Our inability to understand and respect that we are allowed to disagree and to have different points of view has caused much conflict and death. Political, religious and ideological wars have been fought and continue to cause much misery and pain. Even today it is differences of opinion and belief that have led to such things as terrorism. The world is gripped by fear, largely because of a difference of opinion.

I believe, when it comes to religious ideology, that there can only be one truth. We cannot all be worshipping the right God and we cannot all be the right religion. The fact remains that at the final time, only one will emerge as the truth, which automatically makes all others a lie. However, it is true that we are all entitled to believe what we want to believe and to live what we believe.

God has given each of us the freedom and ability to decide for ourselves. God does not force anyone to believe in him. Likewise, we should not force others to believe what we believe or to see things only as we see them. We should believe in our opinions and defend them, but we should also respect other people’s right to have their own opinion.

Have Your Own Opinion – the folly of following popular opinion

Just because an opinion is strongly held by many does not make it correct either. A few centuries ago the opinion that the world was flat was a very strongly held belief. Galileo Galilei, an Italian physicist and astronomer was charged with heresy in the 17th Century “for holding as true a false doctrine taught by many, namely, that the sun is immovable in the center of the world, and that the earth moves.” Of-course now we know that he was right on the ball, but at the time having that opinion could have gotten you killed.

Have Your Own Opinion – having no opinion is dangerous

More dangerous than having holding an opinion simply because it’s a popular opinion, however, is having no opinion. This is particularly true when it comes to your opinion of yourself and your dreams.

I recently had an experience that got me very discouraged and feeling low because someone said something about me which made me feel like a failure and got me thinking that I was not worth much. For a couple of hours afterwards I felt very bad about myself and actually almost agreed with what he had said. I was beginning to believe what he said to such and extent that it made me feel depleted of energy and enthusiasm for what I was doing. But, fortunately, I caught myself in time and realized what was happening.

I wondered why I was letting this person control my thinking and make me feel that way. He was entitled to his opinion, but that did not make it correct. Moreover, if I believed what he said about me it would eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy because I would start behaving like a failure if I believed I was one. Virginia Woolf put it well when she said “Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.”

So I immediately dropped the thought. The only opinion that mattered, I realized, was my own. It is what I think and believe of myself that is important. It was Persius that correctly said “don’t consult anyone’s opinion but your own.” It is very easy to let others opinion damage your sense of worth and make you start doubting yourself, what you are doing and where you are headed in life. Someone once said patterning your life around other’s opinion is nothing more than slavery.

Have Your Own Opinion – don’t be a slave

There are many people living in this slavery today, because they care more for the opinions of others than for their own. Good opinions can be just as damaging as bad ones. Everyone could be of the opinion that you make a very good lawyer or accountant or whatever else you may be doing, but if it’s not what you deeply desire in life, then you shouldn’t really work hard to preserve this opinion others have of you.

Do and be what you deeply desire instead. Katherine Mansfield advised that you “Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.”

Have Your Own Opinion - conclusion

Don’t take anyone’s opinion for a fact. Have your own opinions. Find out the truth for yourself and never trust in anyone else so much that you neglect your own ability to find the truth. This is particularly important in the area of religion and spirituality. God’s promise is “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” So if you earnestly seek the truth, you will find it.

But, don’t even trust my opinion on that. Look it up yourself.

You are all you can be. Go on and be it.
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In the POWER PRINCIPLES series of books, Dr. Moses Simuyemba, "Africa's Success Coach", shares his knowledge, experience and insight to help you in overcoming your personal challenges and limitations and inspire you towards the life you desire and deserve: a life of greater purpose, free of fear and full of abundance.