We’re in a war of ideas. Everyone wants their ideology to be right. At one point, I used to care a lot about whether or not people shared my worldview. But now? I’ve come to a realization. The truth will show up in our results. We don’t have to argue about anything. I’ll live my life based on my beliefs and you live based on yours. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see who gets what they want and who doesn’t.
You can think whatever you want to think and have whatever beliefs you want to have. I have strong convictions, but I no longer need anyone to see the world the way I do. Let people think what they want to think. Share your ideas and leave them at that. Bet on your ideology and let people bet on theirs. Let the chips fall where they may. I aim to help those on the fence, not to convince those that are too far gone.
I have a pretty good idea where people’s lives will end up based on the ideology they follow. At least, I think I do. What the hell do I know? I don’t know anything. I can do lay out the case for why I believe what I believe and let you think about how it applies to your life. And that’s what I want to focus on before we even dive into the topic at hand.
You might feel like you have to adopt a certain set of beliefs, adhere to a certain ideology, stick to a side, whatever, but you have to live your life. I don’t know you, but I’m guessing you have a combination of things you really believe and things you think you’re supposed to believe. Don’t let the things you think you’re supposed to believe keep you from living the life you actually want.
Because, when the dust settles, you don’t get any points for clinging to certain beliefs. At the end of the day, you’re left with the results of your actions, guided by your beliefs, and nothing more.
Changing your beliefs is hard because you have your identity tied up in your beliefs. You don’t see them as things you believe but as statements of who you are. Your beliefs drive your behavior and your behavior does show you who you are. But remember that your beliefs don’t have to be permanent statements of who you are. You can have a certain set of beliefs for years and ditch them the instant you find evidence that contradicts your beliefs.
Over time, I try to course correct my beliefs based on how they map with the real world. I try not to believe something because I think I’m supposed to believe it. I focus on forming beliefs that help me move in a positive direction. That’s it. My problem with some of the beliefs I see promoted in society today has nothing to do with morality. I just believe those beliefs will make people’s lives worse in the long run.
Again, what the hell do I know? I only have the observations I’ve made, the sources I’ve learned from, and the experiences I’ve had. I’m pretty sure I’m right, sure enough, that I’m betting my life on those beliefs. You’re betting your life on yours, too by the way. I’ve spent years trying to get it right. I’m not perfect, but I think my studies have yielded some good criteria.
Here are some of my criteria when it comes to forming beliefs:
Think of the rules I have and see whether or not they work for you. Also, focus on actively creating rules and values for your life. Set your own criteria. And update your rules over time. Too many people permanently outsource their thinking to others. Instead of thinking for themselves, they have a set of programmed responses they’ve learned from authorities. Regardless of what ideologies you choose to follow, you’re always better off actively choosing and refining them instead of playing ‘set it and forget it’ with your beliefs.
Are your beliefs useful? Do they help you get what you want? Do your beliefs make you feel good or bad about yourself and your life? Like me, you have this sense in your mind that you pretty much have life figured out. Even if your life sucks, you feel this way. It’s better to feel like you have a handle on reality than to admit you don’t, even though that admission could help you change your life in the long run.
I’m not going to tell you what to think. I’m going to tell you the cold hard truth that the beliefs you adopt will make or break your life. I encourage you to focus on thoughts that are useful. Not beliefs that are one hundred percent ‘correct’ or ‘accurate.’ Useful. Sometimes useful beliefs involve an element of delusion and irrational confidence. Sometimes useful beliefs force you to ignore what everyone else is doing. Overall useful beliefs move you in that direction you know you want to go in, deep down, that’s it.
But, just to be sure, let’s break things down a bit further:
Based on these rules, I’ve formed a long list of beliefs that guide my actions today. Some of them are crazy inspiring, some are harsh but necessary, others fall under the category of ‘it is what it is.’
Most of the rules on my life, and a lot of the things I share in my writing, tend to be direct, brutally honest, raw, aggressive, whatever you want to call it.
People tell me all the time they half hate and love the way I share these ideas. Look, I’m only this way because it seems to be the best tool to snap people out of their funk. It was the best tool for me.
I didn’t change my life by having this rosy picture of success. First, I admitted my life sucked. Second, I decided to humble myself and try to learn how to live a better life since clearly, I didn’t know what I was doing. Last, along the way, I continue to try and update my philosophy based on the things I need to know instead of what I want to hear.
And I pass that information on to you.
Then there’s the set of beliefs that are useful, counterproductive, or downright dangerous.
Some beliefs can be technically accurate but directionally counterproductive. Or they can be lies you tell yourself about the world to cope with that keep you from making the changes you know you need to make. In general, I try to avoid beliefs that I don’t find useful, period, regardless of how strongly other people believe them. Actually, I often avoid believes that too many people believe.
I only add the morality-laced adjective of dangerous because it bothers me to see just how much certain beliefs ruin people’s lives. The people who believe some of these dangerous beliefs don’t seem happy to me. Many of these beliefs manifest themselves into outward hatred, too. People who believe them tend to lash out at others, because, deep down, they know these beliefs are BS but can’t bring themselves to change. That energy has to go somewhere. And it usually goes to the worst places and behaviors.
You can see the direction I’m heading with this. But just remember. None of this is personal. Don’t feel attacked if this list shares a belief you currently hold. Look at your own life and see how things map out.
Often, people share iterations with these beliefs in the comments of my blog posts. They’re not trying to convince me that I’m wrong. They’re trying to convince themselves that they’re right. Often, when you tell yourself convenient lies, you have to continue to form this big cognitive pretzel. You know you’re full of it, but you don’t want to give up your beliefs, so the rationalizations run deeper and deeper.
To whatever degree you’re telling yourself narratives like these, just know, you can stop. You can stop running from the truth about the way the world works and what you need to do change. You don’t have to play this BS societal game.
Again, I’m just going to keep sharing my ideas, living my life by those ideas, and letting the chips fall where they may. Earlier in the post, I talked about how useful beliefs have predictive ability.
So far, one of my main predictions continues to grow truer over time. I predicted that society would fracture into hyper optimistic, sovereign, self-taught, and free individuals or hyper pessimistic, reliant, obedient, and oppressed people.
Maybe you’re telling yourself that you don’t fall into either category right now. You’re just a normal person. Give it time. The “mindset gap” will continue to grow. I hope you’re on the right side of it all.
I wrote a piece that probably won’t be popular with the masses or go viral or get approved by some of the gatekeepers, but I don’t care because it’s the truth.
Do with what truth what you will.