How to Move On When You Find Out You’re Wrong
Have you ever found out that something you believed deeply — maybe for years — turned out to be a lie?
Did you feel like someone yanked the carpet out from under you and you’re left to find your balance in a pile of quicksand?
It’s a horrible feeling. You might start wondering if anything you ever believed is true. You wonder who you can really trust — and who’s lying to you so they can make a buck.
That’s the way I felt when I finally realized that everything I believed about personality tests is dead wrong.
You gotta believe in something
If you believe something is a lie, that’s still belief, isn’t it?
Belief is the metaphorical ground you stand on. It’s the rock that shelters you in storms. It’s what motivates you to do what you do — and don’t do. Without it, you’re wandering through life like a thirsty traveler in a barren desert. You know you need a drink to survive, but until you drink from the fountain of belief, you’ll never be satisfied.
I’m not gonna tell you what to believe in this post. I will challenge you to examine what you believe and ask yourself, “Is this true? Is this something I can bank my hope in? Is this a rock I can hold onto when one of life’s tornadoes turns my life upside down?”
If so, hold onto it for dear life.
If not, burn that sucker and look for a rock.
Finding rocks in a world full of sand
Some things we believe we take for granted and never give a second thought.
- You flip the light switch because you’re absolutely sure that the room will get brighter instantly.
- You get in the car and drive to work, the store, or to visit friends and family because you know that though you could have a wreck, you probably won’t.
- You take one more spin on the slot machine because that could be the one that fills your pockets with so much cash it would blow your mind.
When I had a wreck on the way to work a few decades ago, I hit my head on the windshield. My car was instantly converted into a worthless (almost) pile of metal.
The next day I was back behind the wheel.
Because my dad knew that if I didn’t start driving right away, the fear might keep me from ever driving again. In fact, we never even considered the possibility. To give up driving was to give up freedom.
Don’t let fear cripple you. It doesn’t have to — unless you let it.
My belief that I could still drive and survive was the rock I stood on. One accident didn’t magically erase everything I had learned about driving. It just made me wiser, more careful, and more determined not to let that happen again.
Find your real limits
The one thing personality tests did to me — without me realizing it — was fence me in.
I felt comfortable having words to describe me. You revel in your strengths and run from your weaknesses. And if you spend enough time reading your test results, you start treating them like a set of instructions.
“This is how I’m supposed to live. See? It’s in print, for crying out loud.”
I could print that the next President will be from outer space. Will that make it true?
Of course not.
Print has credibility because we give it credibility. For some reason, typed words seem to carry more weight. But let’s face it. Anyone with a phone, a tablet, or a computer can type anything they want and publish it on a variety of platforms. Does that make it truth?
Truth earns its credibility by testing. The only way to know if that rock will protect you in a storm is to go outside when the wind is howling, the lightning is crashing, and the rain is pouring like an open faucet. Otherwise, it’s just a theory, isn’t it?
The only way to grow stronger and wiser is to see things for yourself. Learn from others who know — but make that knowledge yours by using it, applying it, and refining it.
Do This Now
What is something you’ve believed for years without question?
Find a way to test it this week. Talk with other people about it. Write an essay about it and invite discussion. I don’t care if you want to prove it or disprove it. Your main goal is to go deeper and discover why you believe what you believe.
Maybe you’ll learn something that will change the rest of your life.
I’d love to hear how it goes.