looking through new eyes

Decide
I wrote an article more than a year ago in which I said:

…there are three types of music lovers. One loves
music in general, and their [sic] tastes evolve with the times.  Another
loves a specific type of music, and sticks to that type of music over
time.  The third starts out listening to popular music but drifts off
as they get older into calmer music (shifting from Public Enemy to
Kenny G would be an extreme example).

(continue reading shifting tastes)

I was speaking of music in that post, but today (as I struggled to write something) I started to wonder whether the idea that some people are able to evolve and change more easily than others is valid. Do people change, or do people’s beliefs stay the same and external events change?  An example might be your attitude towards investing in the market.  Has the bear market changed your attitude towards investing?  Or did you change your attitude?

I know that I held certain truths to be self-evident when I was younger.  Some I have discarded; some I have retained.  We all have things we believe cannot be doubted by any sane person.  Some are serious:  “investing in the market is the way to long-term wealth for the middle class.”  Some are not:  “the Patriots are evil.”

Every day I try to challenge myself, but I have to admit from time to time that my attempts to challenge myself are actually attempts to reinforce beliefs I already hold. It’s not easy to find things that challenge our beliefs that we’re comfortable with.  I don’t like to think that I’m attached to my own beliefs more than a rational amount, but I probably am.  Whether that’s a good thing or not is hard to judge, objectively.

The only way to really know if you’re stuck in your views and beliefs is to engage other people to challenge them. I find reading to be once way to challenge my beliefs.  My wife and my family and my friends are another.  But I question whether I’m at a stage to question them myself.  I’m not sure if I’ve been so set in my ways that I can’t challenge my own mindset; I’m not sure that I can push myself without external help.  I turn to other people to answer that question, and the answer isn’t simple.  I’m still seeking to answer this myself:  can I change, or do I need others to change me?  I don’t think I’ll answer it today, but I hope I can figure it out soon.

photo credit: piccadillywilson

12 comments

  • Most of my attempts to challenge my beliefs are really an effort to reinforce my existing beliefs as well.

    But as you seek to reinforce beliefs you are once in a while surprised by what you learn. As our lives change so do our beliefs as the mind tries to adapt. Psychology is fun! Great thoughts I've never been able to put that into words.

  • Wow that was a pretty deep article. I'd like to think I am open to changing my beliefs. I am usually open to hearing anyone's argument then I judge it based on whether or not it makes sense. They say you learn a lot more from listening instead of talking.

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  • I'm notoriously bad at being able to change my beliefs. I don't really seek to challenge them because it gets annoying. However, one of my strongest beliefs is that being open-minded is important, so everytime I think someone is an idiot because they disagree with me, I try to remember that it's more important (to me) that I give them a reasonable chance.

    I engage others to challenge my beliefs sometimes, but since everyone else is defending their own views, sometimes it can feel very isolating (it's hard to feel worthwhile whilst you're an atheist trying to be open-minded with a religious minister).

  • It helps when your “belief” is that you are not your beliefs. 🙂

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  • It helps when your “belief” is that you are not your beliefs. 🙂

  • I'm notoriously bad at being able to change my beliefs. I don't really seek to challenge them because it gets annoying. However, one of my strongest beliefs is that being open-minded is important, so everytime I think someone is an idiot because they disagree with me, I try to remember that it's more important (to me) that I give them a reasonable chance.

    I engage others to challenge my beliefs sometimes, but since everyone else is defending their own views, sometimes it can feel very isolating (it's hard to feel worthwhile whilst you're an atheist trying to be open-minded with a religious minister).

  • It helps when your “belief” is that you are not your beliefs. 🙂

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