Changing your mind means you’re weak

At least, that’s what we’ve been conditioned to think.

“Hold the line.”
“Be consistent.”
“Don’t change your mind.”

Watch any political campaign and you’ll see mudslinging like, “this candidate once said this, but now says this.”


“This candidate voted for this 24 year ago, but now voted for this.”

Because apparently changing your opinion on political and business issues means you don’t have a backbone, or you’re a flip-flopper, or you only say whatever you must in order to get ahead.

Do you really believe that stubborn, hard-headedness is the ideal? Because anytime we see someone change their mind, it is portrayed as a bad thing.

Do we really want to elect officials who never change their understanding?

Because, if so, there are a lot of politicians who believed some pretty wacky stuff 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago.

Do we really want business leaders who never learn or adapt?

Because if so, there are a lot of business executives who believed some pretty wild stuff 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago.

And specifically those businesses that refused to change their tune, adapt, or move (I’m looking at you Blockbuster, Circuit City, Radio Shack, TiVo…) are gone.

And it’s not only about believing wacky stuff, it’s the fact that the world was different all those year ago. It’s only been 13 years since the first iPhone was announced. Look at the advancements of culture, technology, religion, and global connectivity in 13 years. Things changed. People changed. You changed.

It is okay for you to reflect on your beliefs and adjust. It does not make you weak. In fact, it is a sign of strength and growth.

I have not always been right (although, I may not admit this to my wife, kids, or parents). I won’t always be right in the future. Is there a chance that on a particular topic, I am not 100% right in this given moment?


I’m pretty sure this time…

And what is right? Guess what, on A LOT of issues, we have absolutely, positively – No. Clue.

“Right,” 60 years ago in America meant blacks had to sit at the back of the bus.
“Right,” 100 years ago in America meant women couldn’t vote.
“Right,” 1000 years ago (depending on which part of the world you lived in) meant child sacrifice, feudal lords, raping and pillaging.

Think about that for a minute.

And for those who are sure that their church/religion/belief system is “right” look at the history of your church. I’d be willing to bet it has changed A LOT since it was founded. I know mine has. And I’m glad that is the case.

Life right now is about making decisions based on our understanding, reflecting on how those decisions turned out, and adjusting accordingly.

When is the last time you gave yourself time to sit and reflect on your values and core beliefs?

Not reacting, but reflecting.
Not scrolling through the stories, posts, feeds, tweets, and shows that arouse you, anger you, or make you laugh, but unplugging to think.
Not disconnecting from reality in a game, but connecting with reality on a hike, on a chair in your back yard, or face to face with your spouse/kid/dog.

It’s much more difficult than it sounds.

Try it this week.

Turn off your phone, computer, and/or TV.
Go on a hike. Sit on your porch. Go for a drive (with the radio off) and reflect on who you are now and how you’ve changed throughout your life.

Then try to understand that in 10 years, as you look back on your current self, you may find that you’ll be embarrassed of your current self in some areas, and enormously proud of your current self in others.

Explore and embrace the possibility that right now, in this moment, you may have something to learn that you don’t already know, that you don’t yet agree with, or that you don’t quite understand.

If you think differently than me, I’ll unfriend you

I’m seeing this a lot lately given the existing climate.

Look, it’s social media, so you’re well within your right to connect with or sever connections with whomever you’d like. I just hope that when you demand that people who think differently than you be more open-minded, and then say things like the title of this post, you see the irony.

I am fortunate to have close friends (and family) who hold opposite beliefs to my own. And yes, they believe/post/say things that make me bristle or cringe sometimes.

One of my lifelong best friends stands on almost the exact opposite political side of pretty much every major issue than I do. We grew up together, played on teams together, and went to college together. While at college, we would go to lunch at least once a week and discuss these issues.

We’d walk across campus, observing people of all kinds of backgrounds, appearances, and behavior, which would often spark conversations on how we see the world. Rarely did we think exactly the same.

But here’s the beauty of it all. When I look back on our conversations and disagreements, they were free of the negativity you see on social media.

No name calling. No fighting. No unfriending. We would just talk. Like two adults. About issues we cared passionately about, and we’d share why we felt the way we did. We listened to each other and, while I don’t think either one of us changed the other’s mind, I understand a little better why some people relate to or believe things differently than I do (and it wasn’t because they are ‘evil’).

I’m fortunate enough to have other very close friends similar to the one mentioned above. We play on teams together. We work together. We hang out with our families together. When heated topics come up in the world, I call those on the opposite side, and we talk. I ask them to help me understand the side they tend to agree with. They listen to my side. It’s wonderful.

My opinions on life, love, religion, politics, work, and everything else have evolved dramatically after experiencing life. I don’t believe the same things I did as a teenager… or as a college student… or when I was a single person… or when I was married with no kids… or as a father of 1, 2, and then 3 kids… or as an entry-level employee…

As we experience more of life, many of our beliefs will change, and that’s okay.

Embrace friendships and connections with those who think differently than yourself and welcome conversations with them. The trick is, it is okay for people to think differently than you. They are not stupid/evil/uneducated/brainwashed just as you feel you aren’t any of those things.

Create conversations where you can both feel safe, where you can both feel heard, and where you can both try to understand without hate. After having a conversation with me where we don’t agree, who knows, maybe with a little reflection and life experience, I may start to believe the same thing you do (and vice versa).

Do we need core values to hold on to?
Yes, and I think they are surprisingly simple (and straight from the pre-school playground).

Be nice
Don’t hurt people
Don’t take their stuff
Say please
Say thank you

Imagine where the world would be if we could just follow those 8 simple rules.

I won’t unfriend you for thinking or acting differently than I do, yes, even if I consider what you do or say to be terrible. And if you want to unfriend me for this, well, so be it.