Let me admit something. I’m a fickle minded routine addict. How can that even be you ask? I take ages to make a decision but then I rarely ever change them. I get into a routine. You don’t believe me? For the most part, I have had the same breakfast for the past five years. Minor changes here and there but for the most part the same. I have a set time for everything and hate making changes. My morning rituals haven’t changed in the past five years. It drives people around me mad. And their objection to my set ways makes me confused and angry. So it would come as no surprise that on important topics in life such as my thoughts and my principles do not change that often. When I make a decision, it is based firmly on my beliefs, my current circumstances, and experience. But I’m not a fanatic.
When the facts change, i change my mind. What do you do, madam?
– Winston Churchill
I have no inclination to seem consistent with my past decisions and opinions. The human tendency to be consistent with previous decisions makes us susceptible to persuasion according to Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence.” It’s essential to analyze and if needed alter your stance and opinions.
Here are just a few that I have changed my mind on recently:
Fitting in: I don’t know if it’s our education or parenting but we are taught and forced to fit in. You want to look, think and act like the cool kids. All my life I’ve tried to fit in. Say and do things that make my tribe accept me. No more. It’s exhausting and unfair to my actual beliefs. If that means I have to find a new tribe then so be it. You don’t need to fit in. Be different and speak your mind.
Reading: I’ve been a voracious reader since my early childhood. I’ve believed that reading is what makes you an intellect. But I now feel it’s not the reading but thinking that makes a difference. If you read a book and don’t think about it, then you’re merely reflecting the authors perspective on life. Thinking is more important than reading. If you’re reading without thinking, then you might as well be watching an entertaining movie.
Goals: I’ve always been intensely goal oriented. The problem however with goals is that achieving it can be a double-edged sword. The elation of achieving your goal can quickly turn into a feeling of hopelessness because what’s next? Bigger goals? More pressure? Goals can also be intimidating. Instead, as Scott Adams talks about goals vs. systems. Having a systems approach rather than a goal can be more beneficial in the long run.
The Left: I’ve always identified myself as a liberal. Especially growing up in India I’ve had an aversion to the so-called values we were forced to uphold without choice or explanation. So my liberal values fit right in with my fellow compatriots on the left. But as the left moves further away each day, I find myself in the middle barely agreeing with either side. There’s no winning on either side, so I now identify myself and a liberal middle.
Diet: There’s no such thing as a perfect diet. Take it easy and live a little. Yes, this coming from a guy who never ate sugar or “unclean” food for over a year. Indulgence is not a crime and Abstinence does not mean immortality. Balance is key.
Exercise: When you’re young, going to the absolute limit and pushing past pain is the key to growth. As you get older, it’s a sure shot way to hurt yourself. If you feel like taking a day off then take a day off. It’s not a sprint but a marathon. My younger self would roll his eyes and call me a wuss if he heard me say this.