6a00d8341c4e6153ef00e54ff4f0298833-800wi In political circles we have heard the now common refrain: "He was for it, before he was against it" numerous times. The phrase is often delivered by a political opponent and is meant to portray the recipient as a wishy-washy, flip-flopping, two-timing scumbag. And perhaps this is true, but what happens when someone honestly changes their mind because they have unlearned an old belief, idea or habit?

One reason unlearning can be difficult is because once we have made a public commitment the very act of  commitment serves to harden into our minds the idea or belief for which we have taken a public stand. For example, once a juror states his or her initial views publicly, they are reluctant to change their opinion–even in the face of new and mounting evidence.

How then do we overcome this reality? I'm sorry to say that there is no easy answer. You must expose yourself publicly and announce that you have unlearned. 

Will you be scorned, ridiculed and maybe even ostracized? 

Possibly, but once you do expose yourself to a new truth you will notice something interesting happen. Not only will your view of the world become clearer, the ground upon which you stand will also feel firmer. (This is true even though those around you may be accusing you of going squishy.)

I'd love to hear your stories of exposing yourself to change–and unlearning.

Ed.Note: After I published this piece, I stumbled upon this wonderful quote from Carl Sagan:

"In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a
  really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would
  actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them
  again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should,
  because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it
  happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that
  happened in politics or religion."