Everything around us changes and I feel like changing my mind when a new situation calls for it. Over time, experiences, perspectives and focus evolve and create different contexts in which our lives take place.
I believe it is crucial to open your mind up to change. It can be deadly to stick to a decision made in the past. If the situation in which this decision was made is now different, it is no longer the appropriate decision. By refusing to change your mind and focusing on the negatives and potential threats, you’ll miss out on new opportunities.
Instead of celebrating people’s ability to adjust to new situations, society tends to blame them for their “inconsistency.” When someone has made a decision, they often show a determination in defending it, even if something new has come up. However, if you want to optimize a decision, you can’t stick to ideas that no longer represent the best thinking.
A common argument against changing your mind is that if you have tried something and it didn’t work, it would be stupid to do it again. The point I am making is that if the situation is different and if you behave in a different way, you will get different results. So of course, it is worth trying again! Passion and love (for things and/or people) are good motivators for this!
Until 2016, I was focusing on my work, I had responsibilities and massive worries about my elderly parents, I neglected some relationships, I took no time for my own artwork, I didn’t travel because of claustrophobia, I was tense, tired, stressed and worried. I am not sure I could really see and appreciate what and who was around me.
When my father died in August 2016 leading to my mother – with Alzheimer – moving into a care home, all these feelings increased and plunged me into sadness and exhaustion. I was blaming others and the circumstances for what I was going through. As a result, I made decisions then that I shouldn’t have made; it was not the time to make decisions. I made mistakes that I regret but it is a lesson learnt. I can’t change the past but I can change what is coming.
When I realised that, I understood that I could actually decide to feel better. That was a positive outcome in itself. I then started to look at the positive side of everything and to take responsibility for my feelings.
Even though it hurt, my father’s passing removed the worries I had about him; my mother’s move in a care home where she is safe has reduced my worries about her. Both these events freed my head up. And of course, death often makes us more aware of our own mortality, so I realised that I’d better live this one life I have to the full.
All of this created a different context in which I could make changes: I decided to spend less time working, which has reduced tiredness and stress; I re-launched my art practice, which I find highly satisfying; I attempted to repair a damaged relationship, which makes me feel better about myself; I am having therapy to cure my claustrophobia, which makes me more comfortable with the travel plans I am making.
I changed past decisions I felt were no longer appropriate.
Changing your mind isn’t just about adding a new perspective to something. Often, new information should make you rethink your initial decision. Over time, you gain better knowledge, different understanding and greater wisdom. You should then look at how a different situation should initiate a new decision.
Anyone that stubbornly holds on to a past decision when a new context makes that decision unsuitable is a fool.