looking through new eyes

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