“If anyone can refute me — show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective — I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.”Marcus Aurelius
How often do you change your mind? How often do you change your beliefs? What about your principles? Or your self-image?
How often do you admit that you were wrong?
How often do you force yourself to see things from the opposite of your usual perspective?
It can often feel like a cardinal sin to change one’s mind, to admit being wrong, but the truth is that the inability to change one’s mind is the foundation of a fixed mindset.
I known this because I’ve always been notoriously stubborn when it comes to changing my mind.
After all, I’m the guy who nearly destroyed an extremely popular blog by doing the same things over and over again, never giving a damn about the feedback I was receiving.
Maybe it’s so because changing our mind requires that we approach every situation with a healthy dose of humility. It bruises the ego to admit that you were wrong.
I was wrong about a lot of things in my life, and maybe I am wrong about this too, but I think that changing our mind when a certain behavior or thought-pattern no longer suits us is one of the most powerful tools we have in our pursuit for a better life.
There’s No Right or Wrong. Only Wrong and Slightly Less Wrong.
It is easy to see what you want to see and hear what you want to hear. It is easy to think of yourself as complete; you no longer see yourself as having to evolve, so there’s no point in ever admitting you were wrong or changing your mind.
But let’s replace complete with finished. If you think you are finished, odds are you kind of are. Bad pun intended.
It is always the most adaptable among us who is the most successful, and adaptability requires a conscious effort to open up and be exposed to new perspectives and ideas. It’s about playing with an idea, not discarding it right off the bat because it does not seem to fit inside a particular box.
One of the bitter truths of life is that as you get older your belief system becomes more rooted, almost impermeable; after all, it carried you to where you are right now. The challenge is to keep the mind adaptive and fluid, to develop a habit out of seeking information that contradicts what you think to be the absolute truth.
Because the road to hell might be paved with adverbs, good intentions, and a lot of regrets, but on each side of this road you’ll find a lot of people who were absolutely certain of their truth and almost turned our world into a living hell.
This is an extreme example, and I’m not saying that never changing our minds is going to turn us into genocidal maniacs, but it is a path towards ignorance, and ignorance is anything but bliss. Ignorance is poverty, unhappiness, sickness, suffering…
Life’s all about fearlessly and relentlessly asking questions, it’s about being wise enough to admit that you just don’t know what you don’t know, that you are not in possession of the absolute truth.
You have the right to be wrong, to change your mind, to adapt your beliefs to better suit your goals, but you’ve got to make it a habit, you’ve got to decide day after day after day that the road you take as you go through life is still under construction, and that everyone you meet knows something you don’t.
Be willing to change your mind, to admit you were long; there’s a lot of wisdom, knowledge, and self-awareness to be acquired if you do so.
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