I think that perhaps the worst thing we can do, not only as fitness professional type or athletes, but in all aspects of life, is to become stale. We lock ourselves into ruts of habit and comfortable familiarity, walling ourselves off from people and places and ideas that threaten our worldviews. We convince ourselves that we’re right, wrap ourselves up in a filter of certainty, and ignore, dismiss, or explain away any factoid or data point that challenges our established thoughts.
Politics and religion, the two time-tested hotspots of interpersonal conflict, are obvious symptoms of mental rigidity. Bring up either, or both, and your company quickly becomes impolite. Why does this happen? What is it about people that make them so absolutely certain they’re right — even if evidence to the contrary is right in front of them?
That’s what Robert A. Burton, MD, sets out to answer in On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not.