How can we dedicate our lives to a specific mission while also keeping an open mind?
I don’t think we can.
As human beings, we don’t want to pursue a lifelong mission unless we’re convinced its 100% the best thing we can do for the world. So, to be 100% convinced, we reach a point where we have to stop challenging our beliefs because it gets too risky.
It’s too risky to admit to ourselves that we’re pursuing something that might not actually improve the world. Instead we take up the dangerous activity of challenging every else’s beliefs and permanently glue our feet in our position.
Challenge other’s beliefs and you will stagnate. Challenge your own beliefs and you will grow.
When challenging others we repeat our current knowledge and mindset over and over. Maybe we find another illustration or metaphor, but that is far from growth. We’re too busy trying to persuade other people to see our point, we’ve killed our ability to grow.
This is particularly prominent with political viewpoints and ideologies that are tied to our “mission” in the world. If we truly believe we’re on a journey of social impact, we have the responsibility to continually scrutinize our pursuit, for the sake of the world we’re creating.
Though because we deeply associate our life and purpose with the mission we’re on, keeping an open mind is not easy. We’re afraid that if our belief is challenged, our life’s purpose is challenged, and most people aren’t ready to face that.
This is why we shouldn’t dedicate our lives to a specific belief or mission, because we will never open ourselves to challenge that belief. Instead dedicate your life to making the world a better place, and simply do work that you believe will make an impact given your current understanding.
It’s a subtle mindset difference, but one that will lead to growth.
I think you’ll agree that if you went your whole life believing what you did when you were 4, it would be a life wasted. So why do we decide to hold our beliefs so tightly at 20, or 30, or 40?
Growth will end the moment you stop challenging your thinking.
Instead, invite dialogue with opposing people, not to persuade them or vilify them for their beliefs, but to truly understand and challenge your own thinking.
If your belief is challenged, you have an opportunity to strengthen your conviction, or to change it for the betterment of yourself and your world changing mission.
And yes, sometimes it does mean you will change course. That’s okay. That’s growth. That’s genuine pursuit of positive impact.