- Thoughts for inspired living

September 14, 2021

Beliefs on a Shelf

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 4:12 pm

Board 2238281 1920A question came to me from out of the blue the other day: “What is the shelf life of a belief?”

I didn’t get an instant answer, only more curious.

Beliefs are the building blocks of our lives and many of them are the foundational ones we inherited from our early caregivers during our formative years. That means they weren’t beliefs we arrived at on our own; they were passed on to us, as though, through osmosis.

Some of us live out those beliefs for a lifetime, many of which can’t be validated.

Others we outgrow, like the tooth fairy and a free lunch.

So the natural question is: “What ends the shelf life of a belief?”

Sometimes it’s information that counters our belief, but that’s a rare occurrence. We tend to ignore information that doesn’t line up with our established beliefs. An intellectual argument, no matter how factual, often doesn’t have the power to persuade us. “I believe what I believe, don’t confuse me with the facts.”

Upon reflection, It seems to me the thing that changes beliefs most is experience.

Our experience is hard to argue with. Once we own an experience that’s counter to our belief, that belief is past its “sell by” date and is headed for the dump.

It’s like The Grasshopper opined moons ago: “If you don’t own an experience, you can only talk about it and, when that happens, talk is truly cheap.”

And Julius Caesar left us with this timeless observation: “Experience is the best teacher.”

I often ask people to show me their experience and not regale me with their beliefs, because I’ve learned, from experience, that beliefs are lousy teachers.

All the best,


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