Jordan Ogren

April 28, 2022

My new mantra for life.

"Strong beliefs held lightly."

That's a new motto I've adapted.

Why? Life is too short to do the opposite, "Weak beliefs held strongly."

We should have strong beliefs backed by research and experience. But we should hold them lightly, willing to update and refine them with better data and experiences.

To live a better life for ourselves and those around us.

This is a reason why many people can't do religion. Some (most) religious people never update their beliefs. Quantum physics, data on how old the earth is, and the inability to prove biblical "facts" are all avoided to remain firm in their beliefs.

They will not update and refine their beliefs. They believe that is going away from the faith.

And people then view these stubborn people and want nothing to do with them, which is sad.

I believe inherent in faith and spirituality is being able to update your beliefs. A consistent theme in the story of Jesus is updating people's (Jews) beliefs and providing a new way. Why should that stop once he left us?

The reasons for remaining firm on no longer true beliefs are numerous. One of these reasons is cognitive bias which creates something called cognitive dissonance. 

"When in this state, people can reduce their dissonance in one of two ways: changing their beliefs to be in line with the new information or interpreting the new information in a way that justifies their original beliefs. In many cases, people choose the latter, whether consciously or not." — Beth Daley.

Another reason people stay firm in their beliefs is because of confirmation bias.

"The confirmation bias is another process that helps you justify your beliefs. It involves favoring information that supports your beliefs and downplaying or ignoring information to the contrary."

So, what can you do to become more malleable in your beliefs? 

Become aware of the biases that impact you.

Realize that what you believe is probably incorrect, at least somewhat. And be willing to update your beliefs when provided with better information.

Also, adopt the mantra I opened with:

Strong beliefs, held lightly.

🧠 + ❤️ // JO