08 Oct Have You Ever Changed Your Mind?
It’s great to have strong beliefs and convictions. It’s even better to be open to changing those beliefs. Being a great leader doesn’t mean that we never waiver from our convictions. Being a great leader means we are willing to question those convictions and be open to different perspectives. AND, it’s something we do daily and we do purposefully. Why? Because it’s the ONLY way we will grow.
Where do your beliefs come from? Most of them aren’t even yours. They are someone else’s beliefs that you were taught, so they became yours. The same stories in your life were repeated so many times that they had to be the truth. Your brother said asparagus is nasty, so you decided to never eat asparagus. His story became your story. Then one day your date cooks it for you. You’re told it’s one of their favorites and they really hope you like it. You decide you will choke it down to be polite. You take a bite, and not only do you eat what is on your plate, you ask for more. Asparagus is your new favorite vegetable! Who’d a thought?
I could fill pages with things I’ve changed my mind about – different foods, best ways to exercise, how much sleep to get, and being a country girl who now loves living in the city. As Edward de Bono said, “If you never change your mind, why have one”? Now, that’s a good question.
As human beings, we are constantly judging anyone who thinks differently from us. We tend to surround ourselves with people who think the same as we do, and we often get defensive if someone debates us. But have you ever stopped to realize that they are as convicted about their beliefs as you are about yours? Have you ever sat down and just talked about why each of you believes what you do? How different might our world be if we were open enough to learn from each other instead of fighting each other?
It’s likely you aren’t the originator of your belief. Neither are they. That doesn’t make anyone right or wrong. It’s just the story you’ve both been telling for a long, long time. However, at certain points in your life, that story may not be benefiting you. It may be limiting you. It may be causing you stress. It may be hurting your relationships.
Have the courage to cross examine what you believe. When you do, some of those beliefs will stay. Some will morph a bit, and some will have lived their useful life, so you can let them go. Changing your mind doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you are strong. If the story you are telling yourself isn’t benefiting you, then write a new story – a story that benefits you, others and the world. That’s what a great leader does.
“You are always free to change your mind and choose a different future or a different past.” (Richard Bach)
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