What I Think about What You Think

There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just come out with it: the things you think aren’t true. Given that reality, you’d be doing yourself, and all the people in your life—(especially the people you live and work with)—a huge favor if you’d quit acting like they were.

You see, most people treat a belief as though it were a THING. But a belief is really just a feeling of certainty about something. You can think of belief as a spectrum of increasing certainty that looks something like this: opinion, belief, conviction.

If you’re what most people consider “a reasonable person,” you can probably distinguish between facts and opinions. But if you’re like most people, you’ll be damned if your convictions AREN’T true.

Your boss IS a jerk. All your coworkers know it. Your sister-in-law IS an idiot. Anyone with half a brain can see that. You’re an above-average driver, but the majority of people on your commute clearly are not. Duh.

(Oh, and your favorite team should have won the championship back in ’98. It’s so obvious.)

But convictions don’t occur to you like opinions. That’s what makes them so insidious. And that’s the nature of a blind spot—we don’t know what we don’t know.

I think that’s what Mark Twain meant: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

So, do yourself and those in your life a favor: recognize the utter insignificance of your noble opinion. Then choose to believe your highest thought about yourself, everyone else and the world.

And remember to be humble. You might be wrong.