A worldview is a collection of attitudes, values, stories, and expectations. It represents our most fundamental beliefs and assumptions about the world around us. “As such, worldviews play a central and defining role in our lives. They shape what we believe and what we’re willing to believe, how we interpret our experiences, how we behave in response to those experiences, and how we relate to others”, says James Anderson of Ligonier Ministries.
These thoughts have greatly shaped how I see the world.
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” (Shakespeare)
It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking we know what is best for ourselves, for others, and the world. The best we can do is have some humility the next time we catch ourselves thinking we know the way. It’s okay not to have all the answers – better than okay. Acknowledging this may be our only chance at wisdom.
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.” (Hellen Keller)
There is no “safe”. Everything you have could be gone in a minute for reasons beyond your control, whether you play it safe or not. If you knew that savings account you’ve been contributing to for so many years would be wiped out when you needed it, would you regret not having taken some risks along the way? That is not to say to be reckless, but being risk averse doesn’t pay the life long dividends you think it does, and likely steals the best version of yourself away.
“You shouldn’t hesitate to modify your perceptions to whatever makes you happy, because you’re probably wrong about the underlying nature of reality anyway.” (Scott Adams)
Part of why we’re so hard on ourselves is we think we understand the world. We think we know its rules and limitations, and our own potential or lack thereof. But what if we’re wrong about all of that? What if we’re just not capable of understanding the true nature of our world or how others perceive us?
Scott continues, “If I had to bet my life, I’d say humans are more like my dog trying to use psychic powers on me to play fetch than we are like enlightened creatures that understand their environment at a deep level.” This worldview helps me not to take things so seriously. I believe there is more magic, wonder, and possibilities both within the universe and within ourselves than we are capable of seeing or understanding.
“Believe those who seek the truth, doubt those who find it.” (Andre Gide)
Confirmation bias is an inescapable part of humanity. We don’t seek the truth so much as we seek out things that support the conclusions we’ve already made. It’s sad that it takes so little to form an initial opinion and that all information seen after developing this opinion is seen as either “right” and in support of our early conclusion, or “wrong”. This is true even in the field of data science where we can masterfully manipulate the data into telling whatever story we want. And just being aware of confirmation bias doesn’t make us immune to it. I hope to be as open-minded to concede to the possibility that everything I know might be wrong, but I’m probably too entrenched in my views to truly be that objective.
“I find it helpful to remind myself that every human is a mess on the inside. It’s easy to assume the good-looking and well-spoken person in front of you has it all together and is therefore your superior. The reality is that everyone is a basket case on the inside. Some people just hide it better. Find me a normal person and I’ll show you someone you don’t know that well. It helps to remind yourself that your own flaws aren’t that bad compared with everyone else’s.” (Scott Adams)
“Be, Do, Have.” (Robert Kiyosaki)
Before you can DO what is necessary to HAVE the life you want, you must BECOME the person who would do those things. The order is very important. I used to think if you do certain things you can have what you want and that will make you into the person you want to be. But having things doesn’t make you into anything, nor would you likely do enough to have what you want without first becoming the person you need to be.
The “be” is a flywheel. If you’re a _____ kind of person, you can’t help but do _____, and if you do that you can’t help but have _____. It’s automatic. You can’t help but do what you do because of who you are. This can work to your benefit or against it, depending on what your “be” truly is.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” (Eckhart Tolle)
Have a difficult person in your life? I believe this is a gift, handcrafted and placed exactly into your life so that you can learn from it. Sometimes it can take years to understand the lessons from the difficult things in your life, maybe a lifetime, and life will keep serving you the same kind of lesson until you get from it what you need.
“For even a few moments at a time, being aware of what is arising, gives us the possibility to make a choice.” (Joseph Goldstein)
I’m not so sure we actually have free will, or maybe that we are not really conscious the vast majority of the time. So rarely are we present enough to make a choice we could truly call our own. The best we can do is focus on the present moment, notice our own thoughts as they arise and maybe instead of just reacting and following our program, choose if those desires are really from our innermost soul.
See also Why You Probably Don’t Have Free Will.