I have become fascinated by my beliefs and how I have come to believe what I believe. My fascination has increased recently as I have been discovering that many of my beliefs have been wrong… that is they are contraindicated by actual evidence.
For example have heard, and came to believe, that infertile couples who adopt a child are subsequently more likely to conceive than similar couples who do not adopt. I even have reasons why this is true, like, stress is reduced and reduced stress increases the likelihood for conception.
Here’s the challenge- clinical research shows that couples who adopt DO NOT conceive at rates higher than similar couples who do not adopt. My whole belief system on this topic is flawed because my underlying belief was simply WRONG!
Here’s another belief I had all wrong. I believed shooting deaths were at record highs in the USA. I now have discovered the truth is shooting deaths are ALL TIME LOWS in the US and most other countries.
I also believed killings with assault rifles are "through the roof"(obviously any are too many) but the truth is more people are killed with hammers and bats than by ALL rifles; assault and otherwise. How is it that I (and perhaps you too) have come to believe so many things that are simply not true?
Last night I had a discussion with a young woman who was telling me that she planned on not having children because of the “the way things are now”. She sees the world as less good than it was when she was growing up 20 years ago, in the 1990’s. Is that really true?
Here’s what the evidence suggests- in 1993 there were 24, 526 murders in the US; in 2009 (the last year I could find numbers for) there were 15, 214, down by nearly 38%. Rape, assault, robbery are all much lower than they were 20 years ago and the trend is continuing to improve. See- http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_01.html
There are many things that she may be using other than crime stats to come to the conclusion that this is not the kind of world that she wants to bring children into and I totally respect that.
I’m not talking about whether it is or isn’t, or whether things are better or worse than they were 20 years ago, or 50 years ago, or whenever; what I am talking about is HOW we form our beliefs and whether or not we are building our belief systems on what is REALLY true.
One of my early mentors, Jim Rohn, used to say, that “Enthusiasm is not a test for truth”. People can be enthusiastically WRONG. The only test for truth is… truth.
Mark Twain put it this way- “It ain't so much what we know that gets us into trouble. It's what we know that just ain't so.”
What about you, have you allowed any of your beliefs to be formed in ways that “just ain’t so”?