One of my personal core values has born much fruit in my life: Validate all concepts–no assumptions remain unexamined.
So much of what locks us into our ho-hum lives are assumptions about what we can and can’t do. Examining the “obvious truths” that everyone else blindly swallows might reveal a life changing breakthrough.
It’s like how they train circus elephants. When they’re babies, they attach a chain with a stake in the ground to the elephant’s collar. They’re not strong enough to pull it out. So after many tries, they quit. After they’ve grown (on average) 6,410 pounds larger and stronger, their assumption about unmovable chains keeps them from even trying to pull up the relatively tiny stake.
I’m not saying all rules are wrong. Many rules exist for good reasons. Traffic rules are important to follow and the “freedom” gained from deciding you aren’t bound by those traffic rules could kill you.
My core value doesn’t drive me to reject all concepts–not even close. I want to examine them. Most will prove worth submitting to (I do drive on the right side of the road). But you might be surprised at how much of your life is defined by assumptions you’ve never thought through.
Here are some questions to get you started examining your assumptions:
Why do you watch TV? Seriously, what’s your motivation? What’s desires draw you to the particular shows you watch?
Why eat exactly three meals a day? Why not 5 or 2? What role does food play in your emotional life?
Who says you have to have money to make money? (By the way, that rule came from the industrial revolution of the 1800’s–it’s way outdated.) Why do you want money anyway? What will it do for you?
Which of your friends should you keep being friends with–any of them?
Don’t get me wrong here–I watch TV for about 30-45 min most days of the week. I’m not against TV or any of the other things I’m questioning. Maybe you should keep all your friends. But you should have a thoughtful understanding of why you choose what you do. The point is not to go from one assumption (TV is just fun, no thinking required) to another assumption (all TV is a waste of time). The point is to seriously examine your TV watching, decide what you really want to get out of TV, and have a thoughtful plan to use TV intentionally rather than mindlessly.
What assumptions have defined you? How did you move past them?
[For rethinking assumptions about church and Christian living, check out my other blog: www.memberdrivenchurch.com]