How Can You Change What You Believe Is Not True?

How Can You Change What You Believe Is Not True?

How Can You Change What You Believe Is Not True?

I received this question from Quora.  I occasionally respond to questions from this site, but this week I decided to write a blog about one of them as well.

Now, to be honest, this is not the clearest question in the world.  It could have a lot of meanings.  To answer this question specifically or accurately, I would need more information.   To answer generally, however, I will look at the question from a couple of angles as if I were talking to a student.

If you are talking about changing your thoughts on a topic, you will need to ask yourself two things: 

“Do I want to change?”

“Am I willing to be wrong?”

I hope that the answer to the second question is “Yes.”  Otherwise, there is no reason for you to pursue any process beyond staying firm in your current position.

fazenewsAt all times, it is good to question our current beliefs and thoughts.  We should from time to time look into whether or not our “knowledge” is supported by facts and proof or whether it is simply long-held beliefs based on nothing more than rumour or hearsay.  Please, do not be a victim of fake news.

You should always be willing to investigate objectively.  In other words, when you do research, do not look only for information that supports your currently held belief.  Look at all aspects and points of view. 

Some of them might surprise you! 

Of course, just because something is online or in print does not make it true.  You will need to engage your thinking and reasoning skills to “weed out” the dross and then incorporate the more quality finds.

I wrote about some of this ideas in the “Knowing vs. Thinking” blog and video.

If you discover that your thoughts or beliefs are well supported, don’t change them!  Why would you want to change something you believe is not true unless you find solid proof that you are wrong?

Of course, if the evidence reveals that your current knowledge is incorrect, then change by learning even more about the facts, evidence, and arguments that lead you to a more accurate assessment.

The goal of learning (which is living in my books) is to constantly be on a voyage of discovery. 

thinkingface201908Having said this, it does not mean constant change just for change’s sake.  You might simply find more support for what you already know is right.  Being open to change does not mean you must always change and never settle on some foundational knowledge. 

Now, perhaps the question was meant in a different way.  Perhaps you want to change someone else’s mind because you think they believe something that is not true.  Well, the same advice applies.  Find the proof, the evidence, and the reasoning and present them with it.

Be prepared!

During the process, you might find that they are correct, and you should be willing to accept that.  Also, you might find that they won’t change regardless of the evidence.  People often tend to stay put in their foundational beliefs.  Be happy that you have done the work to either confirm or alter your own thoughts and that you have planted the seeds for potential change at least.  In time, people do sometimes change if given the chance.

How can you change what you believe is not true?  First, look at the evidence.  Second, do your best to determine the truth. Third, only change if your current beliefs are incorrect.  Stand up for truth and objective assessment.

Speaking of changes, next week I will be writing and talking about educational changes.

To Change or Not to Change


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