Our hearts are deceitful. They can be dangerous. It’s why we’re so convinced and at times so convincing. We don’t merely lie to ourselves; we deceive ourselves.
There is a way to keep our deceitful hearts in check. Here are three tips:
To begin with, admit it.
The sooner you embrace this uncomfortable, disquieting fact about yourself, the quicker you’ll be able to develop and maintain a healthy suspicion. The more open you’ll be to information and advice that conflicts with where your heart is taking you. The more cautious you will be when the salesman inside you starts selling you. The easier it will be to recognize what you are tempted to justify may be just a lie you’re telling yourself.
Second, ask it.
Ask the question: Am I being honest with myself, really?
Have a heart-to-heart with yourself. Have it in the mirror. Look yourself in the eye. Seriously, stand in front of the mirror and ask yourself out loud—and use your name. “Andy, are you being honest with yourself, really?” And then, tell yourself the truth even . . . even . . . if you don’t plan to act on it.
You owe it to yourself to know, even if knowing points you in a direction you don’t intend to go. It won’t hurt to know. You need to be honest with yourself . . . really.
Third, be curious . . .
When we push through our discomfort and get curious about why we’re feeling what we’re feeling—why we are determined to do what we are hell-bent on doing—we get to the truth.
But most people don’t do that.
Don’t be most people.
Be curious. Curiosity will keep you focused on the frontiers of your ignorance. That’s where we learn. That’s where we gain insight. It’s where we catch sight of our prejudice and our narrow-mindedness. When it’s uncomfortable . . . and it will get uncomfortable. When it gets uncomfortable and you are tempted to turn away, to turn back to what you’ve always known, know this . . . that is fear talking. That is insecurity talking. You’ll learn little from either. So turn back around and be curious. If you do, you will learn something. If nothing else, you will learn something about yourself.