“The only thing that permits human beings to collaborate with one another in a truly open-ended way is their willingness to have their beliefs modified by new facts. Only openness to evidence and argument will secure a common world for us.”
– Sam Harris
Humans are thinkers, and we can use logic to our advantage. Beliefs are funny things. Though we can be influenced to believe anything, we’re ultimately the creators of our beliefs. You can’t see or touch a belief in the real world. No one can give you a belief you don’t accept.
Use the power of logic to shake the foundation of your harmful beliefs:
1. Choose a belief you’d like to change. For this example, we’ll look at the belief, “Money is the root of all evil.”
2. Where did this belief come from? Did it come from your parents? A minister? A teacher? Neighbor? Did you read that money is the root of all evil? Knowing the origin can help to change the belief.
3. Is this source an expert? In reality, only a person that’s had a lot of money would have the experience to make such a statement.
• Your parents might have had authority over you, but did they really have authority and expertise when it came to being wealthy?
4. What is another possible explanation? It’s possible that money is the root of all evil, but what other explanation could there be? Maybe your current belief is just one possible explanation.
• Maybe you just heard that money is the root of all evil so many times you’ve believed it without questioning it.
• Maybe money gives evil people the chance to be evil. But does that mean that all people are evil?
• Have you ever actually seen money causing evil? Money is just an object. Have you ever seen another object create evil?
• Is it possible that the reasons for this belief only exist in your mind and not in the real world?
5. Realize we form many beliefs in childhood that fail to hold up to examination. It’s understandable why a child forms certain beliefs under the conditions of childhood. Those in similar situations would likely draw the same conclusions.
6. Can you see that any of the other interpretations could also be “the truth?” So what is the truth? It’s whatever you choose it to be. You are the creator, and your belief is merely your creation. You interpret ideas and experiences and assign value to these things.
Find an interpretation that makes sense but also works for, rather than against you.
Faulty beliefs can be easy to change because they have the disadvantage of being incorrect. Most of the beliefs that stand in your way can’t stand up to scrutiny. Examine your beliefs around money and put them to the test.