Where I stand

2 minute read

Conviction level in this idea: 80%

“Who I am is where I stand… Where I stand is where I fall” – The 13th Doctor, in The Doctor Falls

Where do you stand? Not just literally, but what are your core beliefs? Have you ever taken the time to think critically about them?

Lately I’ve seen more writers state what their beliefs are, which I think is a great idea. See examples from PressThink, The Interface, or Devon Zuegel. Understanding context is helpful towards knowing how their writing is likely to be biased. It’s essentially impossible to avoid bias, and it’s encouraging to see more disclosure by people about where their vested interests may be. Laying out your principles helps improve not just transparency but also accountability. Ideally, you’re able to evaluate and update your beliefs over time when you receive more evidence either way.

I had to go through this process while setting up my own About Me page, and it took longer than I expected. What did I really believe in? Why was that the case? [1] How do my beliefs complement or contradict each other? The process was difficult, but I’m glad that I went through the exercise. As I continue learning now, I also have a tangible record of my beliefs that I can update and refine over time with more information. [2]

For those that haven’t had the chance to think about what they believe in, I encourage taking some time to reflect on this. I think it’s worth it to write out your beliefs rather than just think about them. It’s easy to think about topics in your head, but writing them out in full seems to be harder, especially once you realise you have inconsistent beliefs. I think that coming to this realisation is important, even if you don’t know how to resolve the contradiction. At least you have now learnt something new about yourself.

It’s ok not to know where you stand on some issues. Some topics you may be unqualified to have an opinion on because you don’t have enough background knowledge, or because they’re irrelevant to you. [3] I think that knowing which areas these are is also important. As I’ve written before, too many people want to avoid saying that they don’t know. I think this is unconducive for actually learning and getting better. We have to put our ego aside.

Footnotes:

  1. Why we believe the things we do will be the subject of another post. I think religion and science are a bit closer than they might seem
  2. And also the slightly less enviable prospect of a record of huge mistakes in judgement. Who knows, maybe yelp is a superior product to google maps
  3. My beliefs in most sports falls squarely in the intersection of those two areas. I think I might still believe in the wrong rules for football. Both kinds of football.