Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Mastering How to Discern Good Ideas in Modern and Traditional Life

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Mastering How to Discern Good Ideas in Modern and Traditional Life

In our rapid fire, slot machine of a society, countless ideas and lifestyles vie for our attention and obedience, but not all of them are worth pursuing. Many new ideas fall short of expectations, while traditional wisdom endures. In this blog post, we'll explore the concept that "most new ideas suck," and offer guidance on discerning the valuable from the superfluous. We'll also delve into the idea of a goal-oriented life and the challenge of balancing priorities.

The "Most New Ideas Suck" Phenomenon:

In an age of constant innovation, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the influx of new ideas and trends. The reality is that not all of these ideas are groundbreaking or beneficial. Many may seem exciting initially but lack substance or sustainability. I've always sat back with a response of "hmm, that interesting." It's only if I keep coming back to the idea or immediately see the utlity that I embrace anything new. 

Discerning Good Ideas:

  1. Critical Thinking: Engage your critical thinking skills to evaluate new ideas. Consider their practicality, evidence, and potential long-term impact.

  2. Trial and Error: Experiment with new ideas on a small scale before committing fully. This allows you to assess their suitability for your life.

  3. Seek Expertise: Consult experts or trusted sources in the field related to the idea. Their insights can provide valuable guidance.

  4. Consider Tradition: Traditional wisdom often endures for a reason. Don't dismiss age-old practices without understanding their historical significance.

The Goal-Oriented Life:

Living a goal-oriented life involves setting clear priorities and aligning your actions with your objectives. However, the challenge arises when you must choose between conflicting priorities, such as money, family, and community. Most often what's overall best for you will be known immediately. The other influences will come in to sway your decision making. 

You Can't Serve Two Masters:

The idea that you can't serve two masters is a proverb highlighting the difficulty of dividing one's attention and energy among competing priorities. To discern which master to serve, consider the following:

  1. Define Your Values: Reflect on your core values and what truly matters to you. This will guide your decision-making process.

  2. Set Clear Goals: Establish concrete, achievable goals that align with your values. These goals will help you prioritize your time and efforts.

  3. Evaluate Trade-offs: Recognize that there will be trade-offs in life. If you prioritize money, it may come at the expense of time with family or community involvement, and vice versa.

  4. Periodic Reassessment: Reevaluate your priorities periodically to ensure they remain in line with your evolving values and goals.


Amid the noise of new ideas and the demands of modern life, it's crucial to discern the valuable from the superficial. Critical thinking, experimentation, seeking expertise, and honoring tradition can help you make informed choices. When it comes to balancing priorities in a goal-oriented life, remember that you can't serve two masters simultaneously. Define your values, set clear goals, and be prepared to make conscious trade-offs to lead a fulfilling and purpose-driven life.

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