Stop attaching your identity to your ideas

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A person’s identity is inseparable from their ideas.

For example:

  • If you believe that killing animals is bad, you may identify as a vegetarian or vegan.
  • If you believe the government must guarantee that no one is in need, you may identify as a liberal.
  • If you think it’s easier to breathe underwater than on land, you may identify as a fish.

… you get the point.

This is human nature. We construct our identities around our ideas — we become what we believe.

But you know what? All too often, people take this too far. They place themselves in a “bubble” and only listen to ideas that reaffirm their own beliefs. Everything else gets dismissed as “false”.

This can have dangerous consequences on human progress.

Let me explain.

A closed mind carries a cost

Have you heard of the term “Bitcoin maximalist”? In the crypto world, it refers to people who are pro-Bitcoin to the point they almost treat it like a religion. Some people would call it a “cult”.

Bitcoin maximalists don’t really believe in any other cryptocurrency, except Bitcoin. Ethereum? Nah, that’s a centralized scam. Altcoins? Forget about it!

Want to know how to identify a Bitcoin maximalist? Bring up any other coin, and you’ll get berated for it. Their dogmatism fills many people in the crypto community with dread and disdain.

Honestly, I used to be one of those people. Reading their dogmatic tweets made me think that Bitcoin maximalists were too close-minded. As a result, I thought their opinions were not worth my time; I neglected everything they said.

But it turns out I was the one being close-minded. And closed minds don’t exactly help with getting closer to the truth.

Keeping identity out of the equation

The reason conversations on the internet have become hard is because it becomes an attack on the ego. Therefore, our guidelines require community members to focus on the argument at hand and not the identity of the person saying it.

I started reevaluate my stance on Bitcoin maximalists. I began approaching conversations with them with an open mind.

And you know what? I began to enjoy it! I found that many Bitcoin maximalists can be pretty reasonable. In fact, they happened to be some of the most pleasant people I’ve ever met! (weird, I know).

After I discarded the “maximalist” lens I saw them through and stopped dismissing their ideas before hearing them out, I began to separate their identity from their ideas. And that’s when I started to learn a lot from their ideas.

Outright disregarding them was my own fault, and I was unknowingly paying the price for doing so. Many of their ideas actually carry merit.

For example, I started to realize that their conservative approach to governing the Bitcoin protocol actually makes a LOT of sense when you consider that Bitcoin is trying to be money. Money doesn’t need to be progressive — it needs to be quite the opposite: stable, immutable and censorship-resistant. In fact, I 100% agree with their conservative approach now that I think about it. But I would have never realized this had I not stopped making generalizations based on identity.

Getting better by letting go

Admitting the truth, even when it’s disturbing your own comfortable assurance, isn’t an easy thing to do. In fact, it can be downright painful! If you don’t believe me, just try it.

On the bright side, seeing and accepting the truth for what it is can be a beautiful thing to observe.

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Why am I sharing my travel stories?

Founder & CEO of TruStory. I have a passion for understanding things at a fundamental level and sharing it as clearly as possible.

Preethi Kasireddy
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