Conditions apply

It is difficult to have an objective view of things that are close to our heart – about our favourite political party, about a career choice or our opinion of a friend for instance. One useful question can help us remedy that – what would it take to change your mind?

The answer usually takes the form of, if X happens (or doesn’t happen), I would change my mind about Y. A few pointers here:

1. The condition for changing your mind must be a falsifiable prediction, much like a scientific hypothesis. E.g. If my political party enacts legislation to oppose LGBT marriages, I would stop supporting them, as opposed to if my political party is not open-minded, I would stop supporting them.

2. You could also use it in the negative – I would love my parents / stand up for my Alma Mater even if X, Y, or Z happens.

3. It is better to put these statements down in writing. By not writing them down, you risk your unconscious mind modifying them without your permission.

Thanks to our fickle emotions, our views are prone to be unconditional in instances where they ought to be conditional, and vice-versa. Asking yourself one simple question can help bring clarity to this common dilemma.

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