We hear all of the time that we should go for regular medical checkups and specific diagnostic tests as we get older. Why? To make sure that we stay in good health.
What is never talked about is the need for us to regularly test our thinking. For all of us, both young and old. Why is this important to do? How difficult is it for us to do it?
Its importance has to do with making sure we are not fooling ourselves. Especially when things in our lives just aren’t working out as we expected. Testing to see if we have built our worldview objectively without confusing ourselves as we experience life. Good decisions come from good data. They also come from clear thinking. Where we become aware of how we are biased in a situation and try to look at our challenges, issues, and situations as if we were an outsider so that our biases disappear.
Where someone challenges us. When they see we are protecting ourselves from hurt, disappointment, or the realization that our thinking is “messed up”. When we don’t own up to the fact that we haven’t been thinking about something in a better way. For we always forget, that our mind and our thoughts play a MAJOR role in how our lives turn out.
Difficult? Yes, because our ego fights hard to protect us. But is that really where the difficulty lies? No, the real difficulty comes from who we choose to allow to share our deepest thoughts and uncertainties with. It also depends on the topic and whether or not the other person has a great sense of life than we do. If we talked to someone who simply agrees with what we are saying or defending or troubled with, we get stuck with no way out.
We need to seek out someone who has experienced greater troubles in their life and overcame them or seek out people who are more successful than we are. Those who look like us and experienced only what we have will be of little help in this testing. We need to find those who confronted challenges in their lives and were not afraid to try things that were not comfortable in order to overcome them. Whose responses to our stories seem odd and uncomfortable and not readily understood the first time we hear them.
More difficult? Having the honesty to share who we are openly — with our uncertainties, frustrations and our fantasies. Then having the courage to learn that we have been thinking about things the wrong way and admitting this in our deepest moment of honesty. Followed by mustering the courage to continue the days, and weeks ahead by being uncomfortable in what we now choose to do based on what we heard and do it over and over until, over time, what we were told begins to make sense to the point we begin to believe in what, at first, seemed strange.