“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” – Steve Jobs
Whenever you read some quote like this, your eyes gloss over it, thinking you understand it, but not truly registering the meaning of it.
I realized that growing up, everybody, everything, your environment is stuffing all these beliefs, opinions and information about the world, into your head. Maybe it’s your mom telling you that you HAD to become a doctor. Or maybe it’s your dad telling you that artists don’t make money. Or maybe your friends kept telling you that joining the school play would be weird.
I’m not here to argue philosophical opinions. Those statements may or may not be true. But my point is, is that there are a ton of sources trying to stuff these beliefs and opinions into your head. Some may have merit. Some may not. But when you don’t build your reasoning faculty from the ground up, you tend to accept those thoughts without stepping back and questioning whether they have merit.
Maybe, somebody kept pounding ‘you’ll never be a famous athlete‘ into your head to the point you don’t even step on the field, even though you love sports. Maybe, somebody kept telling you that you were ugly and worthless, till the point you actually become ugly and worthless. Your thoughts often become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And as I get older, each day, I identify more and more ‘bugs’ in the way I think. Many of them, are baseless. Things like ‘writers don’t make money’ or ‘traveling alone is dangerous’ or ‘you’re not smart enough to start a company.’ Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
I know I still have a TON of assumptions and beliefs that are still incorrect. But if I keep at it, I’ll keep identifying them and debugging them.