These are four of the most powerful words in the English language.
They can prevent you from being manipulated into an undesirable
outcome and launch you on the road to personal and spiritual growth.
Depriving yourself of the freedom to change your mind will lock
you into a rigid mindset that can hamper your successes and your
Early in life you may have been led to believe it's not good
to change your mind. There are numerous words with negative connotations
associated with those who do change their minds: fickle, indecisive,
hesitant, unsure, wavering, erratic or wishy-washy. You'd much
prefer to be known as steadfast, decisive, confident and sure.
Skilled manipulators use this near-universal conditioning against
you every day. For example, how many times has a salesman asked
you, "Are you in a position to make a decision today?" Once
agree to this proposition, you'll feel pressure to "make a
today," and buy the product, even if you have reservations.
all, if you don't buy, you'd be indecisive.
But this is not what changing your mind is all about. Changing
your mind means that after thinking about the subject or after
gathering more complete information, you came to a different conclusion
— a better and more informed decision. This is not being indecisive.
It's being logical, prudent and wise.
What would happen if you weren't allowed to change your mind?
You'd be forced to believe the sun revolves around the earth.
Your evolution on every level depends on your ability to assimilate
new information and "change your mind" as to what it
how it applies.
Psychologists call the unease you feel when you hold two conflicting
opinions cognitive dissonance. The theory is that you will be
unwilling to simultaneously hold two apparently contradictory
beliefs in your mind and will attempt to modify one or the other
to minimize the dissonance or conflict.
If you told the salesman that "you would be in a position
make a decision today," and yet, you feel you need more time
gather additional information and think it through, you are experiencing
dissonance. The skilled salesman will use your cognitive dissonance
to push you to a buying decision today! If he lets you think it
over, you may not make the purchase or may buy from someone else.
Ever buy a new car after talking to only one dealer?
Imagine what would happen with instances of more deep-seated
beliefs. You think so-and-so is the best candidate, the finest
restaurant or the fastest car. To complicate matters, also imagine
that you are on record as publicly stating that so-and-so is the
best candidate, the finest restaurant or the fastest car. You
have invested your "credibility" in this belief. What
when new evidence comes along that contradicts this deep-seated
belief? You immediately discount it.
Not only do you have the dissonance associated with trying to
hold two contradictory beliefs in your mind simultaneously, but,
even worse, if you accept the new idea, that might mean the first
one was WRONG and you've lost your invested credibility!
How would most people handle the situation? Most people don't
like being wrong, so they would either ignore the new idea or,
even worse, come up with all sorts of counter arguments as to
why it's wrong. In extreme cases, they may outright lie to others
and to themselves, just to avoid the cognitive dissonance. To
an independent observer, this appears totally irrational. To a
student of human behavior, it is understandable.
As mystics, we're after the truth. So if it turns out the second
idea is more accurate, serves us better, or is otherwise superior
to the first, we owe it to ourselves and to others to accept it,
at least until a better idea comes along. We may be forced to
utter three words that are even more powerful than "I changed
"I was wrong."
Being able to admit a mistake is a sign of humility, which is
a prized mystic virtue. It does not mean you're a doormat or that
you are subservient to somebody else. Changing your mind after
gathering more complete information and thoroughly thinking things
through is a sign of being logical, thorough, thoughtful and wise.
Your prime allegiance is to the truth, regardless of where it
There is tremendous freedom in uttering these powerful words.
Your cognitive dissonance vanishes. You don't have to expend any
energy defending the idea of "being right." You are free
the truth without baggage.
Once you get into the habit of allowing yourself to say "I
my mind" and "I was wrong," you will experience
You will have taken 7 powerful steps towards the mystic virtue
of wisdom. You will have also added the foundation of another
mystic virtue: detachment. We will discuss more mystic virtues
in future newsletters. •