On Inconsistent Minds & Fickle Thoughts
“Inconsistency is the sign of a fickle mind”
I read this somewhere recently and it’s been ruminating in the back of my mind ever since. I suppose I am guilty of this or my mind wouldn’t have latched onto it so quickly. I spent some time thinking long and hard about the validity of the above statement and i came to certain conclusions. The primary one was that inconsistency is not such a big deal after all.
We cannot always have a clear cut idea of what we want from life. We are not far seeing seers and cannot say with certainty that this is what we need for the rest of our lives. We grow, we change, we evolve and our needs vary. Along with such variation come changed interests and wants. What I wanted yesterday may not be what I want today and I cannot guarantee I would want the same tomorrow or the day after. All I can say is, for today I want this and tackle the future as it arises. A sign of a hopelessly fickle mind, you say?
There are some people we meet in life, i am sure you have met a few too, who are so sure of themselves and of what they want out of life that they never stop to analyze their path forward. Thankfully i am not one of them, for I find that such people are generally arrogant and cocky. Mere confidence in oneself does not make one infallible and even the cocky ones make mistakes but if they are that sure of themselves they refuse to either admit that they are wrong and what’s even worse learn from their mistakes.
People like me on the other hand who are not very sure of themselves are easier to get along with because we understand that people are fallible and make mistakes, for we do too. And we are wise enough to learn from those experiences and profit from our errors. That makes up for all those doubts and inconsistencies which plague our decision making. And even if we change paths frequently we do so after careful thought and much agonizing over the alternatives, as we never assume that our decisions are always right, because it is we who make them.
So in my opinion a fickle mind is not necessarily a bad thing. It allows you to doubt your current certainties, allow space for future possibilities and if the shoe fits, to make the necessary changes. Here I am not suggesting that you keep changing your mind minute by minute but at certain longer intervals. This especially applies to that great big gamble of our lives, our careers. Which boy was there who did not ever aspire to be a policeman, or a soldier or a sailor when he was growing up? And how many of us actually chose to become one? Would you call that fickle? I would rather call it pragmatic. We grew up and as we matured we learnt to look at the world with wisdom and decided that some things are just not meant to be. That isn’t fickle minded is it?
And sometimes our inconsistencies are forced on us by circumstances. Like if i set out on a road straight to my destination and along the way i face road diversions and traffic obstructions which force me to take loops and turns to avoid the obstacles on my path, that isn’t inconsistency in my book. I am merely traveling in the overall direction i wish to take, give or take a left or right. All these bends and curves and u-turns may delay me a bit and if i allow them to, can cause me stress and tension but in the long run these little delays won’t matter, for in the end i will definitely reach my ultimate destination notwithstanding all these side routes and by-lanes.
To extend the analogy further, sometimes I feel that life is like sailing on a boat, one of those old fashioned sail boats or yachts which depend on the winds and their sailors’ knowledge to get from place to place. The old time sailors, those old salts’s as they were called, they knew a thing or two about trade winds and everything. And once they had a port in mind they knew how to jink the sails to catch the winds from this side and that side and to sail all about the oceans till they eventually got there. They didn’t sail into the winds stubbornly but with the winds, an infinitely easier way of getting ahead in life. I have learnt from them and prefer to do the same.
So without boring you anymore, let me share my conclusions. A few detours along the way are not wrong as long as you are traveling in the general direction you have in mind. The journey may take some time, but hey who knows, you might not be bored by it. And sticking to a strict consistency in thought and deed is impractical when fast developing events offer you the chance to do something better than your original plan. An open mind is often inconsistent because it is open to new possibilities and not fixated on a single idea. In other words, I believe that
“Consistency is the sign of a fossilized mind”
Do you agree?