How often do you change your mind?
There are some little things which you might flip-flop on every day. Perhaps you decide you want tacos for dinner, but when evening rolls around, you’re hankering for a pizza instead. Or you switch your usual latte for a cappuccino. Or you change your workout at the gym.
But when it comes to big issues – like your career plans, your beliefs and values, your hopes and aspirations – you probably change your mind rarely, if ever.
Usually, this is a good thing. You’re consistent and reliable, and you’re able to stand up for what you think.
But sometimes, you’ll find yourself in a situation where you have to change your mind – and perhaps even go against what you’ve said to friends, family or colleagues. And there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that. In fact, being willing to change your mind – to be “open minded” – is hugely important in a world which changes fast.
Here are three situations where you’ll want to think about changing your mind…
When Reality Doesn’t Match Up to Your Expectations
Sometimes, you’ll have an idea which seems fine, but which doesn’t really work in the real world. When I was at college, I thought I’d enjoy an office job (because I’d done some office work in my vacations). After a month or two working a 9-5 job, though, I realized it wasn’t for me – I’d enjoyed it as a student because I knew it was only temporary.
Maybe you’ve had similar situations, where what you thought was right for you just didn’t work out in practice. This could be at work, or in your personal life. It’s okay to change your mind when reality makes you think again.
When You’ve Outgrown a Belief or Idea
I expect that you had strong beliefs as a teen or student which you don’t necessarily hold now. Perhaps you supported an extreme political party, had very firm religious views, or had a fixed idea on how the world should work.
Most of us are able to outgrow our rather juvenile beliefs – but we sometimes struggle to change our minds about things which we’ve subscribed to in adulthood. The truth is that we all continue to grow, change and learn – throughout our lives. Just because you were certain about something ten years ago doesn’t mean you need to believe it forever.
When the World has Changed Around You
We’re living in a time of incredibly rapid change. Fifteen years ago, dialup internet (or no internet at all) was the norm – now we’re used to wireless broadband not only at home but also in cafes and public spaces. New websites and applications like Facebook, Skype, Twitter and YouTube have only come into existence within the last decade.
It’s inevitable that some of our ideas and beliefs will need to change. As a writer, I’m keenly interested in the rapid changes in the world of publishing – and I’m recognizing that I may need to change my mind on some of the ideas which were perfectly sound a decade ago. For instance, with the advent of ebooks, self-published novelists finally stand a chance in the marketplace.
When have you had to change your mind in the past? And what changes to your ideas or beliefs look likely in the light of your development, and the development of the world around you?
Photo by Gibson Claire McGuire Regester
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18 thoughts on “It’s Okay to Change Your Mind”
That’s a good point. I recently changed my mind about something and I’m so glad I did.
For the longest time my wife has wanted another dog. There were a million reasons not to get one; we already had 2 chihuahuas and a cat, our place wasn’t very big, we would have to walk him daily, food would no longer be safe to leave out, etc.
After months and months of saying not now, I could tell my wife was still determined to get one. Last week I gave in, but made sure to do my homework on picking one out. After running a volgard aptitude test on several lab puppies, we came home with our top pick. He’s been a blast. He’s smart, calm, and a joy to have.
Aww, Bryce, that’s a lovely story! I think it’s great to go through the pros and cons of something … but also to be open-minded and willing to find a solution that works. :-)
Really great post, Ali. People love stability and reliability, but part of continual learning and growing means you have to change your mind once in a while, even on the “big” issues. If you never changed your mind once you made a life decision, you might never explore and would be worse for it.
Thanks Deborah! Good point about exploration: it’s so easy to make up our minds and then stay fixed on something when there’s a whole world out there…
I think that changing your mind on food and little things are good – I changed my mind recently on where I was going to move. I had an apartment lined up in Chicago – paid a hefty deposit and then had a change of heart and mind – yes I may have lost the deposit if it doesn’t get rented by 4/1/11 – but heck it’s only money and peace of mind is more important than money….so did I change my mind – absolutely! Am I happy I did – Absolutely!!!!
Good on you! It’s so tough (for me at least…) to change our minds when money’s on the line, but if the money’s gone already then there’s no point fretting over it. Far better to do what you did and be happy as a result!
Insightful article. Yes, in many situations, it happens that one has to change his mind. It could depend on various factors , dynamism of life.
Yeah.. I am agree with you too. Sometime we must change our mind :).
People change to improve their way of life. We either follow our heart or mind. Change is an opportunity for us to redesign ourselves. Whether choosing the best cloth material to wear, the healthiest snack to eat, or a career to choose, let God be the center of your life.
i dont have a problem to change my mind as long as enough proof is provided, at this point i can let go of my opinion :)
I feel like this post is a result of people criticizing others for changing their minds. Albert Einstein has some good quotes about people, one of them which refers to people with mediocre minds opposing those with great minds. Adapting to change and maintaining a non-biased outlook on life is indeed the trait of a great mind!
thanks for the post Ali – I’ve been through all three types of reasons for changing my mind over the last year or so. It’s pretty straighforward to change your mind because the reality doesn’t match your expectation, or because it has changed. But chaning your mind becuase you have grown out of a beilief is a really tough one (at least in my opinion). We often have too much at state to let it go and many people go to great lenghts in trying to maintain their belief/belief systems becuase otherwise they would have to admit to themselves and others that they’ve grown it out (or have been wrong)
I am learning “It’s ok to change your mind” at this point in my life, as i am currently phasing out of the U.S. Military and into civilian life. We are programmed on certain ways of thinking in the military that could greatly attribute to a slow and painful demise of self and life quality if we do not embrace our ability to “change our minds” on the way out of the military.
I welcome change and am amazed how my beliefs and tastes have changed the past year, let alone the last five to 10 years. For example, I now would like to experience city life. I watch House Hunters and House Hunters International and love the ‘energy’ of city living. I didn’t think cities would have as much green space as they do which is why I never considered them. I’d love to be able to use ‘good’ public transportation (and my car when I wanted to), shop at local markets for fresh produce, enjoy a great nightlife, etc. The suburbs are getting old. I welcome the new!
Funny to find your blog. I was trying to fall asleep, but was thinking about how infrequently I change my mind. I googled, “How do you change your mind?” and found that you asked the same question. I am very curious as to your thoughts about how a person changes their mind about their self-concept (often imprinted in childhood with many years of “evidence” piled on)? Our minds seem very protective of our beliefs as to ourselves.
Changing mind on big things, little things going out with others going out alone listening in the moment to moment now and trusting our guts is what helps me. If I listen to my intuition and let it guide me even if it’s not always on, it’s all practice .
Yeah, sometimes people criticize others too harshly for changing their beliefs. Like I might have believed in homophobia before, but I’m allowed to change my mind and accept the rainbow idea. It’s almost as if we want people to stay prisoners to their opinions/beliefs.
Wow, I can actually relate so much to this article! Thank you for posting this.
I’m a young teenager and I face a similar issue – dealing with something that challenges your personal beliefs.
It’s hard because now you’re skeptical on what you truly believe in since you’re always being challenged on social media, TV news (especially since i watch so much of world news events).
It feels like an identity crisis. I’m traveling countries, meeting people of all sorts of cultural backgrounds and yet I don’t know where my beliefs stand.