Everything you believe is untrue

Forgive me, I’m going to get a bit philosophical this week. In a past life I was a physicist. Actually, that might be overstating it a bit … let’s just say I studied physics at uni.

As disciplines go, physics is about as objective as you can get. There is a right answer, and physics attempts to accurately describe the universe.


The problem is just about every theory that we’ve ever had to explain the universe – while it may have been useful – turned out to be wrong. The earth was flat … then it was round. And it was at the centre of the solar system … until it wasn’t. Then Newton described how things moved. Until Einstein came along and explained why he was wrong. And recently some pretty smart people have worked out how Einstein was wrong too.

If history is anything to go by, all the current theories will be superseded with more useful theories that better describe the universe at some time in the future.

I think our beliefs are similar. None of them are true. If all these Nobel winning physicists, some of the smartest people in history, were wrong about the most objective discipline we have, isn’t it a bit arrogant and ludicrous for me to think that my beliefs about anything, but particularly about myself, are true?

I think a better question is “are my beliefs useful?” (I’ve blogged about Jack Nicklaus developing the useful (but untrue) positive delusion that he’d never three-putted on the final hole of a tournament.)

My belief that I can’t fly is pretty useful – it stops me from jumping off buildings. I’m keeping that belief. My belief that “I’m no good at selling” … not so much. Might jettison that one.

Love to hear your thoughts – what do you think about your beliefs? You can leave them below.