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Stop attaching your identity to your ideas

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.

Thanks to my work on TruStory, I’ve learned to be much more open-minded. The entire premise of TruStory is built upon the idea of getting to the truth through debate.

And closed minds don’t exactly help with getting closer to the truth.

Keeping identity out of the equation

Our community Values and Guidelines promote humility, open-mindedness, and “keeping your identity out of it.” We fundamentally believe that 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.

If I expected my community to do this, then I had to do it myself as well.

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.

An open mind opens up possibilities

So why am I telling you all of this?

Well, the past few weeks at TruStory have been a whirlwind — our team has doubled in size. Besides this, we’ve been iterating on our product at a rapid-fire pace.

Every two weeks, we give the alpha to a few of our passionate community members to get feedback and improve our product. Along the way, there have been a bunch of ideas and concepts we had to throw out completely. Inversely, there were also a ton of ideas I was initially against but we ended up incorporating anyways.

For me, it’s been a powerful exercise in letting go of my idea for how some things should be be in favor of what my users were telling me it actually should be.

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. And the benefits can be felt almost immediately.

In my case, it was absolutely necessary to let TruStory grow into what it needs to be — not what I want it to be.

Our team is getting closer. We’re listening to each other’s perspectives and building upon one another’s ideas. Every day, we’re breathing new life into our product. I can feel the excitement in my bones!

The paradox of it all is that the values at the core of TruStory are what taught me to detach myself from my ideas.

TruStory is a platform to debate claims and present both sides of an argument. From there, the merits of the argument guide us towards a better reality.

Debating claims on TruStory has made me more open-minded and willing to be wrong. I don’t care about being right. I don’t even necessarily care about my ideas anymore.

TruStory was never supposed to be about my ideas. It’s about building something that has nothing to do with my ideas — and everything to do with my users.

It was a tough lesson to learn. But sometimes, you have to be wrong in order to eventually get it right.

Intrigued to try out the product? Sign up here if you want early access to the alpha 😊