Good morning, friends! I hope you are bearing up well in these frigid temps. It’s hard to remember a cold snap like this one but in a few years we’ll say the same thing again! Still, let’s get to it.
“In more than thirty years of research I’ve discovered a very important truth about human psychology: certainty is a cruel mindset. It hardens our minds against possibility and closes them to the world we actually live in. When all is certain there are no choices. If there is no doubt there is no choice.”
One of the strange ironies of life I’ve learned is that while we are desperate for certainties life in fact offers very few of them. So in the place of uncommon true certainties we substitute false ones. This irony is clear to me in health issues, age issues, work issues, relationship issues… pretty much everywhere. Perhaps a couple of examples might make it a bit clearer.
“Richard” is an early senior adult aged gentleman, with average health but facing the expected declines associated with age. Day after day as he learns that things once easy have become hard he formulates a growing list of “can’ts”. I can’t do this; I can’t do that. Pretty soon he can’t do much of anything. Sounds certain, but is it true?
“Sally” is a young woman with ambition and drive but also frustrations and unrealized goals. She hasn’t advanced as much as she wanted and her relationships don’t really exist. She begins to view her current realities as concrete facts. Sounds certain, but are they?
Examples are plentiful and greatly varied. You have some and so do I. We cling to our false certainties when in fact possibilities exist. Why? That’s a question for another day. What is clear is what Ms. Langer says; certainty kills everything: choices, possibilities, opportunities, etc. And who needs that?
· Consider a certainty of your own; is it really as certain as you’ve made it?
· Step back from it and ask yourself, “What are two options I have to change it?”
· Develop the habit of breaking down certainties and opening up options.
I “don’t” eat olives and that’s certain enough for me. Some certainties are OK, but not certainties that limit us. Become less certain about your limitations and more confident in your possibilities. I think you’ll see a brave new world open up for you. I have much faith in you! Have a wonderful week.