Tag Archives: ideas

Seek to Change Your Mind

Do you believe everything you believed 10 years ago?

I certainly don’t. I’ve changed my mind on a lot of things over the years. Politics. Economics. Philosophy. Religion. What humans are like. How the world works. What kind of person is a good person, and what you need to do to live the good life.

If you had told my high school self the sheer number of topics I would end up changing my mind on, let alone the¬†actual changed beliefs, I wouldn’t have believed you.

That’s not surprising or unusual. Even if you know, on a rational level, that it’s possible you’re going to change your mind in the future, you don’t think it’s likely. “I’m a smart person, and my beliefs are great, why would I change them?”

Because you don’t know everything. Because you don’t know about every belief, idea, position, or philosophy out there. And because even when you do know about other beliefs, you might be so emotionally invested in your current beliefs that changing over to something better is extremely difficult.

With all of that in mind, I think people should seek to speed up how often their beliefs change. You’ve probably changed your mind about at least one thing in the past 10 years. Chances are, you didn’t expect it or want it – but the belief changed anyway. And if you couldn’t predict which belief would change 10 years ago, how could you possibly predict which of your beliefs will be different 10 years from now?

Read books you disagree with – you might not disagree with them as much as you think. Listen to all kinds of opinions, including opinions you think are wrong, offensive, or ridiculous – they might not be so wrong, offensive, or ridiculous. Seek out new ideas, new life, and new civilizations and different perspectives – they might become your own in 10 years. If you get exposed to other ideas, seriously think about them, and don’t change your mind, you’ll have strengthened your ability to think. If you seriously consider other ideas, and change your mind, you’ve (hopefully) replaced one belief with a better belief.

Seek to change your mind.

Forget The Word Count

When writing, the temptation is always there to meet a certain word count. It’s tempting to believe that length is equivalent to importance or value, and only when the thing you’re writing is long enough, it will be worth reading.

Forget it.

Forget the word count.

The word count is the least important part of writing. Some of the most profound ideas ever communicated are as long as a tweet. Some of the least important or most damaging philosophies are found in books hundreds or thousands of pages long.

Your goal is not to meet a word count. Your goal is to communicate important ideas to the world.

The right word count, or page length, is whatever is necessary to communicate your idea clearly. If that takes 10 words or less, great. Brevity is the soul of wit. If it genuinely requires more than 1000 pages, fine. Some ideas and philosophies are genuinely complex, and require hundreds of pages to fully explain.

Maybe you’re a journalist who has a daily word count they have to meet, or an author with a specific contract – even then, you should consider writing first, and THEN meeting the word count. If the thing you write is too short, you can add to it later. If the thing you write is too long, you can remove and revise later.

Forget the word count.