One of the ideas I loved in Colin Wright’s book Considerations is his approach to beliefs and belief systems. Wright emphasizes awareness and flexibility in our beliefs, and encourages us to understand the assumptions and question we we unquestioningly take to be true. For him, having a belief system that is locked in and unchanging can be damaging as it does not allow you to grow or let your viewpoint evolve. In his book, the author writes about the value in actively challenging your beliefs and aligning your thoughts with things you learn as your perspectives grow.
Wright writes, “Only by establishing a habit of checking your own ideas can you be certain that at any given moment you’re making decisions based on the most up-to-date set of personal beliefs available.” This quote resonates with me because it aims right at self-awareness, which has been a major focus on mine the last few years. By focusing in on yourself and working to truly understand your thoughts you can find areas where you have opportunities to grow and become a better person. What Wright discusses in his quote is the importance of practicing awareness and making sure your decisions and actions align with your personal beliefs. Without a sense of awareness it is hard to develop a personal philosophy and act in a way that lives out that philosophy.
However, Wright is not just encouraging us to build a personal philosophy and stick to it as a rigid backboard for our life. In my previous blog post, “Valuable Possessions” I wrote about Wright’s belief that a personal philosophy that allows change and flexibility offers greater value to the individual. Wright argues that we should constantly look for more information from valuable sources to learn and gain new perspectives. Through this process it is expected that we will begin to see the world in new ways, and as we take in more information we must allow our thoughts to shift so that we can grow. “There’s never a bad time to reconsider what you know to be true. Wright states, “No belief should be safe from your investigation, and all should be regularly revisited.” By continually pushing ourselves to challenge entrenched ideas, accepting that we can change and develop new viewpoints, and practicing self awareness, we can grow and develop in ways that make us more open and engaged in the world around us.