The maxim “think for yourself” is, I suppose, quite shallow and devoid of meaning. Rather, I find it a tad challenging that one can think for themselves, for there are extrinsic factors that determine, shape, and create one’s understanding, perception, and meaning of the world.
Humans are lazy by nature and only those who defeat the inherited inertia find their purpose. To undergo such a process, one needs not only strength but relentless patience. One must fill their empty vessels. Books, sensations, feelings, and experiences are meant to fill in that void.
Having said that, one is almost dependent to what has been thought before—and that, I do not oppose, for therein lies knowledge. But the world is in constant change; thus the dire need of reforming the extant patterns of thoughts—or even come up with new ones—so they can fit nowadays standards
If you think you do not belong to a herd, chances are you are quite wrong. You might have abandoned a herd only to join one, unaware of the transition that occurred in the background. Nevertheless, the notion of “herd”, in this context, is not as degrading as the word per se suggests. Following the same pattern of thoughts many a person adopts does not deprive you of your identity, nor does it make you a tedious being; rather, it sharpens your knowledge, only if these thoughts produce values that help humanity to thrive.
Be that as it may, one is able to think for themselves, only on one condition: that you deconstruct the knowledge you compiled, strip yourself of anything you learnt, and then clear off the rubble, as Descartes once did. Only then will you be able to lay hold of your true self; hence the understanding of your own nature. In doing so, you can mould a philosophy of your own merged with previous philosophies according to your perception of the world. Sure enough, as previously mentioned, books will help you undertake this epic of a journey, that of building a philosophy of your own.
So, in addition to the “Think for yourself” motto, I shall add, “Thou shalt look for yourself.”