Don’t trust people who tell you what you want to hear.
Why? The easiest way for someone to gain popularity is to tell people what they want to hear. We all want to believe certain things about the world, and we only believe that which we agree with. This means that as people get older, they don’t challenge the ways they think because they believe they are right. This is what causes people the biggest problems in their life.
Let’s take me as an example. For a time as a child I believed in what I was told. Then it occurred to me that the hypocrisy I saw wasn’t only in others but also in myself. I was a reflection of that ignorant and narrow view of the world. At that moment I read everything I could and especially things that I disagreed with. Then I thought about what I had been taught, and what seems to be intuitively true.
Most people don’t do this. They get taught as a child to believe in something and they believe it all their life. Oh sure they might disagree with a few items as a teenager, but fundamentally most people are more like their parents than they care to admit. It takes real courage to question what you believe and to act in a way that resonates with what you find to be true.
As adults we see people who are popular who tell people what they want to hear. There is no shortage of liars who will tell people what they want to hear and sell them anything they want to believe. Critical thinking has now become optional. Most people can get by in life by not thinking critically and by just doing what is easy and never questioning what they might think is true.
However reality doesn’t work like this. Coronavirus does’t care what you think you know. Unfortunately some people die not because they are not smart enough to understand, but because they are not willing to be wrong.
Be willing to be wrong in life. It isn’t easy saying that you made a mistake, but realizing a problem exists and dealing with it is what a responsible adult does. What does anything matter but trying to grow each day and appreciate reality and admit that we still have things to learn?
There is an old german quote and it has never been more true. “He who is not busy growing is dying.”