Foolish Consistency

The second major factor that holds people back is homeostasis. This is defined as a "striving for constancy." It is a deep desire to remain consistent with what you have done and said in the past. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his essay "Self-Reliance," "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

He was referring to the natural tendency of individuals to try to remain consistent with previous opinions and behaviors. This form of rigidity blocks off almost all possibilities for growth in the future. To resist the tendency toward homeostasis, you should be willing to abandon your old ideas when someone can prove that there are newer, better ideas available.

One way to escape the mental trap of homeostasis is for you to be willing to admit that you are wrong. The mark of the superior person, in a time of rapid change, is to always remain open to the possibility that one's most cherished ideas are incorrect. This takes tremendous courage and maturity. But it stimulates more ideas and insights.

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