The ability to think originally or independently, is extremely important. What I mean by 'original thinking', is hard to define. It is the ability to think of things that other people don't think of, or don't dare to think of. It is the ability to go against the majority, and challenge basic assumptions we have about everything. It is the willingness to stand out and be different from the crowd.
There are multiple reasons why I feel this is critically important. Firstly, the progress of mankind depends on people who are willing to challenge the status quo. Examples include Galileo, Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln etc. Secondly, it allows the individual to separate themselves from the often herd-like mentality of crowds, which has in the past led to horrific deeds, like the Nazi soldiers who killed millions of innocent people. Thirdly, it gives a sense of freedom and creativity, and allows them to grab hold of opportunities which are not visible to those who are afraid of being different.
In the past, I was unable to think independently. I thought I was making my own decisions in life, but looking back now, I can see that I was carried along by the invisible force of expectations of those around me. I became a doctor and thought it was what I wanted, even though I had never actually considered other career choices. I thought I was a good Christian, and felt sure that my beliefs were correct, even though I had never explored any of other explanations and experiences. I was blind and deaf.
Then my mother passed away unexpectedly from an aggressive stomach cancer. I questioned everything in my life, as I felt my beliefs crack and fall to pieces. I questioned why I wanted to be a doctor. I questioned whether my belief in Christianity was accurate. This started me off on a journey of discovering who I really was, and what my life really meant.
I quit all social media at that time, and started reading lots of books. I read Christian books as well as many other spiritual books. I read philosophy books. I read about economics, investing, sports, martial arts, psychology, relationships, and many others. Throughout all this, I noticed that some of the information that was being delivered to me was. I was able to see the fallibility of most of the authors, and of most common assumptions about life. This allowed me to use my own judgement to decide whether something seemed true or not. This was where I learned to think originally.
Since then, I have been finding my own truths in life. I feel free from any dogmas, and any common assumptions and beliefs that chain many of us down. This does not guarantee me that what I decide to be true is actually the truth. However I feel I have a much better chance of actually seeing the truth than I ever have before.