I’m subscribed to Ramit Sethi’s email newsletters and receive great content on entrepreneurship, psychology, personal finance and everything in between. Last week, I received an email from him asking his subscribers, “What do you no longer believe?” It was thought-provoking and got me to reflect on the last couple of years of my life and I felt compelled to share my responses. Here are four things that I no longer believe in and why.
1. I don’t believe that good intentions equates to true compassion
I used to think that kindness and good intentions were the foundations of being compassionate to others. I thought that if my actions were based in good intentions, then it would be received well and the same would be reciprocated to me. While that may be partially true, good intentions without wisdom can hurt people. It’s important to always be asking myself, “What can go wrong? How could I potentially hurt this person?” True compassion requires selflessness and wisdom.
2. I don’t believe that optimism can solve problems
As I’ve gotten older, I realized that optimism can be a dangerous thing. I like to find the silver lining in any given situation but that doesn’t mean that it can solve problems. I used to believe that if I thought positively towards negative situations, things would work out eventually. In reality, I need to actively be fixing the problems myself. But more importantly, it’s about balancing out my optimism with my doubt and paranoia because if nothing holds me back, I can’t find motivation to move forward.
3. I no longer believe that opportunities are things that come your way
For over a year, I’ve been making a career transition into UX design. If there’s one thing I learned from this process, it’s that opportunities are not things that come and go. Opportunities are things I create myself and I need to be the one that opens doors because ultimately, no one else is going to do it for me. This process has given me the courage to ask for things I want and find ways to get ahead as a designer. It’s empowering to know that I have the tools to create any opportunity I want for myself.
4. I don’t believe that marathon training gets easier
I’ve been a runner for more than half my life. You would think that I’d understand it by now but I’ve been training with the wrong mindset that eventually it will get easier. The truth is, the more I train, the more I feel defeated and the process never gets easier. Training for the marathon is basically a series of feeling defeated on a constant basis and pushing yourself anyway because those tiny victories (whether that would be a new PR or a long run where you feel like a champion) make it all worthwhile.
Thanks Ramit for getting me to think about how my beliefs have changed over the years. It’s wonderful to reflect on the things I don’t believe anymore but more importantly, I’m amazed at the fact that there are so many ways of thinking I’ve discarded. Changing minds is the hardest thing and allowing myself to do that has been the best thing for my personal growth.