How do I form beliefs and opinions without becoming an a**hole? Here are some tips I gave myself:
1. Don’t be personally invested in your beliefs – do not make them your career or your identity. (I am perhaps being hypocritical: am I personally invested in avoiding being personally invested? Are my beliefs to hold none?)
2. Be able to readily change your mind – you are likely wrong about many things, it will save time if you can admit it and re-learn. Remember that this won’t hurt you because you are not invested in them.
3. Speak less than you listen – and when you listen, do not be thinking of what to say next.
4. Be gracious to people that you disagree with – it is not useful to make enemies, especially when your own belief system could one day be the same as theirs. There are other things in life to focus on than who is right, and everyone is generally lovable.
5. Treat your beliefs as the luxuries of time – do not live a life built off of them. Realize that it is because of the comfort of technology, government and relative wealth that you are able to spend so much time articulating and considering these things. Be able to understand more direct practical “now” ideas as being the only things that really matter. So don’t spend time on it – don’t take hours to talk and argue about politics and religion everyday. Act on your opinions, and then you will get direct field evidence fast. Talk is mostly abstract and hypothetical anyways.
6. Trust the wisdom in yourself – and know that you can know something without someone saying that you do. And if someone doesn’t believe you – you can prove it better through simplified, clear statements then by an army of flourishing, passionate word fire.
7. RELAX – remain calm and you will avoid reacting defensively. Humour and acceptance will be more readily available to you. Emotions will be less involved – meaning that you won’t feel so much of the sting of embarrassment or the thrill of righteous anger. If you are thinking about your beliefs or having a discussion about them, do it in a relaxing environment and remain grounded. Remember that it doesn’t really matter if we all share exactly the same beliefs – a lot of problems can be solved with room for more than one set of opinions. It is beneficial to google the size comparison of earth with respect to everything else in the universe, this will bring you some perspective.
I think we all agree on a lot more than we think we do. This might be more obvious to us if we stopped focusing on creating our own specific teams of exclusion, and started building and maintaining the bottom of the pyramid where we all agree.
To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”