Changing opinion is a sign of maturity.
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, I had an appointment with one of the public offices. I recall that morning as I rode to the office with my face mask, a bit nervous. They were days when the hospitals were getting saturated with Covid patients, the number of deaths rising uncontrollably and fear permeating the souls of men.
During those days, we watched and read several health experts on TV and national dailies give their opinion on what people should and shouldn’t do. And one of such recommendations was wearing gloves outdoors, to avoid contracting the infection as you touch the mucous membrane (mouth, nose, eyes) with contaminated hands.
The office appointment during the Pandemic.
As I got to the office, they couldn’t let me in since I hadn’t any gloves on. So, I quickly had to visit the closest supermarket. As you can imagine, the supermarket hadn’t any gloves left on their shelves, not even the transparent disposable nylon gloves you wear when picking fruits/vegetables; everything has been cleared by frantic customers deeply afraid of death, and rightly too.
After searching meticulously, going up and down the same aisles, I was kindly advised by one of the attendants to buy a different set of gloves. “My dear, we have a few pairs of washing gloves. I think you should get a pair. They were many this morning but only a few are left. They’re XL but who cares, right?” She was referring to the reusable kitchen gloves for dishwashing or house cleaning.
Reluctantly, I picked a pair of XL yellow dishwashing gloves and walked to the office. While I waited to be called, words quickly passed around the offices that someone was wearing a pair of ill-fitting yellow dishwashers. And everyone came to inspect and have a good laugh.
Well, to avoid feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed – a black man on a sky blue face mask, a pair of dark blue jeans, yellow XL kitchen hand gloves and a grey jacket – I looked at them, placed my pretty hands on my thighs for their curious admiration and gave a bold smile. They all smiled back and the show was over. At least something to smile about in the midst of daily devastating news.
In the following months, the CDC updated her guidelines and health experts (the same ones that recommended it) would eventually say that wearing gloves is reserved for when cleaning the home or caring for sick people.
The Opinions and views we hold
I cited this example because it’s a fresh and ongoing event that everyone can relate to. But there’s an endless list of the times expert opinions and strategies have shown to be unfounded after some years.
In our day to day activities, there are views we hold, practices we engage in, principles we apply, beliefs we’ve entrenched that are true or factual today but might change tomorrow.
The public and indeed some scholars believed that the earth was flat until the Hellenistic period and more even until the 17th century. It was until new information emerged (with the empirical evidence of Aristotle and the rest) that such a view was considered fictitious.
My assessment of events today, my opinion on issues, people and other sensitive matters is based primarily on the amount of information I have regarding such matters. Sometimes, my opinion is formed by my belief system, my values and the experiences I’ve lived.
When I’m called for a counselling session on youth and heart matters, for consultancy on leadership/business strategies, best practice in health care, my opinion will be based on the current and most verifiable information in that field. While there’s a place for discernment, intuition, experiences, foresight etc. I’ll still read articles on the current guidelines in medicine/surgery, the best leadership/business strategies, consumer behaviour trends etc. which will be part of the solutions I’ll proffer.
But the things I say today, which are factual, can be proven wrong tomorrow. And I should be humble enough to accept the new information and change the way I’ve always viewed things.
Changing opinion is a sign of maturity
We often tend to hold people accountable for the views they held/expressed several years ago on policies/strategies, religious debates, institutions, health, family and child upbringing etc. That’s ok. But let’s remember that cultures shift; laws change; people grow, develop, interact, experience different cultures, read and research; scientific and technological advancement occur daily and things that were thought impossible a few years ago are now very possible.
So, things change and people change too. And changing a disproven opinion is actually a sign of maturity. Holding on to a flawed hypothesis or view is a sign of immaturity. In fact, only fools don’t change their opinions in the face of evidence or new information.
Some people, however, never change their views even in the face of evidence; they have fixed ideas that are often delusional and that negate any rational thinking. They’re hinged on old views and traditions, and I’m not talking about faith.
So, anyone is allowed to change opinions on principles, ethics, teachings, events, history with new facts. Just make sure you tell us what changed between then and now anyway – we need to know what informed your decision then and what new info you acquired now. That’s not too much to ask I guess.
We discover, learn, and grow.
What opinions did you hold in the past that have changed?
P.S: I’m not talking about the people, especially politicians that change their views every electoral season; those are either frauds or they’re affected by personality disorders.