Sometimes I change my mind about stuff. We all do, but sometimes it is hard to admit being wrong. I have always liked the idea of strong opinions, weakly held, but let me unpack that a little.
The first part is easy for me, because I am very opinionated. If you were to follow me around all day, there could be no doubt of this fact. I seem constitutionally unable remain on the sidelines when I disagree with the course of a conversation. I must engage.
I do always try to have an informed opinion, however. I am interested in virtually everything. When I’m interested in something, I read about it. When I read something, I learn about it. When I learn something, I form opinions about it. In my case, the absence of opinion means the presence of apathy.
The risk I run here is becoming too set in my ways and resistant to change. Because of this, I work hard to hold on to my opinions very loosely. This means I (occasionally?) must admit error, but at this point in my life I find an odd joy in admitting, “oh, I see what you’re saying; I was wrong.” I argue with myself all day long. My internal monologue is contentious, and I think this trains me to consider alternative ideas, even when they come from outside my own head.
Now, being too open-minded can put one at risk of exemplifying the old saying, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”. I don’t worry about this for one simple reason: I remember being a teenager. I’ve talked about the concept of a base state in the past, and I think the teen years offer a pretty good view of how far we can fall.
Since I am naturally opinionated, I have to work at listening to opposing thought. Derek Sivers captures this principle very well. If you want to counteract a lifetime of thinking or doing something, you have to be extreme in your efforts to return the scales to neutral. Said another way, you have to work twice as hard to recover from a 50% deficit.
So, what brings this to mind, you ask? I have rejoined Twitter and Slack. I even created a Twitter account for this blog. I was certain quitting social media was necessary to improve my focus, but more recently, I became concerned this was a cop-out. I ought to be able to dip my toe into the stream of conversation on social media without being swept away. I think I need to be able to.
So, here we are. I am a flip-flopper and proud of it. I work hard at it.