This I Believe

Michael - Syracuse, New York
Entered on September 5, 2007

Every day my world revolves around central beliefs. Most of them are commonly held, socially normal, and true. Others I know to be false, but they still form the logical basis for what I do. I am an exceedingly logical person, but what I do is based on false initial information. Every day I think things like “This class doesn’t matter” or “If I don’t get my cholesterol checked then I don’t have high cholesterol.” These thoughts make my life easier, allow me to stop trying or eat the food that I want.

I do believe things like “just because you are smarter or richer than someone doesn’t make you better than them” and “people shouldn’t pollute.” At the same time, most people say these things, even believe them but they do not form the basis of their life. My false beliefs do. Everything in my life I have designed to make things easier. Why should I run track when I believe that I am not fast enough. Why should I pay attention to someone who I believe speaks poorly and I am smarter than?

I am fast, but track would take effort. The incessant warming up and cooling down, warming up and cooling down, warming up and cooling down just gets to me. It all just requires so much effort when I just wanted to be good when I raced. Similarly, I can learn from anyone, whether they are good at speaking or bad, whether they are smarter than me or not; that would require effort. Listening to someone who is obviously educated, charismatic and funny is easy. I believe in things to prevent myself from doing things that are hard, regardless of their truth.

Beyond easy versus hard, I believe things that make me happy. “I am the best finance student at Syracuse University,” or “Everyone loves me.” These things allow me to stop trying, to be content. They may be true, but likely they are overstatements of my ability. I would rather believe that I am the best and not be, then actually be the best and think that I am not. This is what I believe and who I am. For every lie I make to myself, for every false belief I am happier for it and my life is easier.

The only question is “is the belief that my lies make me happier actually true?”