Put Your Beliefs to the Test

By: Terri Hayes

As we navigate life, our brains form connections and solidify beliefs, rarely questioning them. But let’s have some fun and challenge ourselves. You’ve probably heard these phrases: “You’ll appreciate it more if you work for it,” “You get what you pay for,” “Money can’t buy happiness,” and the like. While they often hold weight, it can be enlightening to challenge their absolute truth. 

Start with a belief you’re not deeply attached to and ask, “How might this not be true?” 

I recently did this with the phrase “Many hands make light work.” While it’s true sometimes, consider situations like cleaning up after a meal, helping someone move, or baking cookies with a toddler. Chaos ensues more often than not when there are too many hands. 

In Neil Pasricha’s book “The Happiness Equation,” he highlights conflicting clichés, showing how common phrases contradict each other. For example: 

  • Defense wins championships versus The best defense is a good offense. 
  • Birds of a feather flock together versus Opposites attract. 
  • You’re never too old to learn versus You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. 
  • Clothes make the man versus You can’t judge a book by its cover. 
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder versus Out of sight, out of mind. 
  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained versus Better safe than sorry. 
  • You get what you pay for versus The best things in life are free. 
  • Good things come to those who wait versus The early bird gets the worm. 
  • The pen is mightier than the sword versus Actions speak louder than words. 

Take it to the next level by questioning beliefs that you’ve held more tightly to. I’m not suggesting you abandon those beliefs, just question them. 

I once staunchly believed in “You’ll appreciate it more if you work for it.” But a purchase at a farmers’ market caused me to question this. The green beans from the market were just as satisfying as the ones I toiled over in my own garden. It challenged my belief, but the joy of three meals with green beans for $3 was worth it!  

We often use clichés to bolster arguments, but let’s question every belief with intent. Share in the comments common phrases you’ve dissected and found liberating or any other thoughts that come to mind. 

High Five! 

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