Sunday, June 7, 2015

Overcoming the Fear of Changing Your Mind

"The fear of change is evolutionary in humans. Since times immemorial, man has liked routine. Our internal predispositions (heredity and genetics) teach us to resist change mainly to ‘always feel in control’.  But the normal fear of change becomes a full blown phobia when it is irrational, persistent and very intense."

Changing your mind is difficult. This is especially true when the subject of potential change is close to your heart.

Take, for example, a Christian pastor whose job depends on maintaining a Christian worldview. This pastor also has a family that he needs to provide for. His only marketable skill is church ministry. What would happen to this pastor if he ended up thinking that the majority of the evidence pointed away from Christianity?

As another example, think about a Muslim college student who recently moved to the USA. After a year, this student starts to think that Hinduism is actually the belief system that is best supported by the available evidence. Quran 3:90 might come to his mind: "But those who reject Faith after they accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of Faith,- never will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have (of set purpose) gone astray."

On a less paradigm-shattering level, maybe you simply find yourself in an argument and someone else made a solid point--one that clearly demonstrates you are wrong. Do you get mad? Are you afraid? Do you change the subject? Or do you simply say "that is a solid point, I need to change my mind on this".

As I have been subliminally hinting with photos of hermit crabs, if you can't change, you can't grow. The following crab "clearly" has the wrong shell. It is obvious to everyone around him--his shell is an artificial construct dumped into the ocean and adopted without any serious consideration. He has made some poor life decisions.

But will he venture out and find a more hermit-crab appropriate home?

Will he?

Yes. He is a hermit crab. Hermit crabs are smart. Even if they stumble on a hokey shell once in a while, they update their beliefs in accordance with new evidence as it becomes available. Heck, they even go out in search of new evidence. Hermit crabs, I salute you.

Don't fear change. Don't fear being wrong. Fear the failure to grow.

1. All photos courtesy of
2. Introduction quote from

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