It is not enough to simply express an opinion. You also have to actually know what you are talking about.
Too many young people are good at parroting the opinions of other people. They buy wholesale the points of view of others, both their age and older, and never bother to actually put their own thinking faculties to work.
An opinion should be something you develop after doing adequate research of the subject matter, not something you borrow from someone else and then discard as soon as another one more attractive comes along.
Interestingly, there are so many ideologies in our social space in this century. There’s feminism, athiesm, pacifism, tribalism and a host of other ‘isms’ including the uniquely Nigerian ‘Buharism’. We are constantly being urged to pick a side and the result has been a spate of confused young people spewing their own versions of half formed ideologies all across social media.
Sit yourself down and question everything you profess to believe in. Actually do your own research and listen. Listen to what has been said about it. Criticize what it means and all it’s implications before you make up your mind.
One of the the saddest types of arguments or debates to have is with someone who does not even have a basic understanding of what he claims to believe in.
While it is perfectly understandable and even expected that we evolve above certain beliefs, there is nothing attractive about someone who says, “I don’t even know why I was on XYZ side before.”
A young man once attempted to give me a dressing down for ‘following Chimamanda’. I waited for him to finish talking and asked him which of Chimamanda’s postulations he had such a big problem with.
“All that feminism nonsense” he replied.
When I asked him to explain, he fumbled his way into completely irrelevant issues like who does the cooking between a husband and his wife.
“In which of her works or speeches has Chimamanda said that women should not cook?” I asked him.
Turns out, young man has never read a single article or heard a single speech of the woman he claimed to so actively dislike.
The same scenario plays out when we talk about who voted for who in the last national elections. Understand that it is not OK for a young educated person to say ‘I don’t even know why I voted so and so self’.
Some actions and decisions are too important for you not to have a personal conviction about and understanding of them before you act. How do you vote for someone whose history you have not studied, or behaviour you have not observed?
‘Based on his precedents I expected him to do better’ is a lot different from ‘I didn’t know the kind of person he was before I thumb printed beside his name on a ballot sheet’.
Read, dear millennial and listen.
Take a stand only when you are utterly convinced that it is the right side. And even then, open your ears and mind so that should your stance be wrong, you can make an informed change.
Pride is no reason to hold on to an opinion you have now realised is wrong. The only thing worse than having a stupid opinion is refusing to change it when clear evidence if it’s errors is presented before you.
Fellow Nigerian Millennial.