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When I was quite young I stumbled across the word "fallible." I've always liked this word, but in my later decades its importance to me has only grown.

A simple modern definition is something like "being capable of errors, mistakes." It stems from the Latin fallere, also the root of fault, false, and failure.

It's healthy to consider oneself as deeply fallible.

One can have a great deal of conviction about any belief, but have equally strong conviction that you might in fact be wrong. Someone might have better information than you do, or better logic, thus placing the onus on you to change your mind, change your position. And note that force can't be part of the argument; you do this voluntarily because you see that the new way of looking at reality is actually better and more accurate than your old one.

In this way, your conviction around your beliefs only gets stronger, more anti-fragile. But remember: you're fallible! You still might be wrong. But you've gained conviction through this process.

I try to remember this on a daily basis. I consciously, intentionally try to keep an eye on my fallibility, and realize that I'm going to be a fallible human being until I take my last breath.

We're living in an age of weakened fallibility. So many well-meaning but polarized people clinging so hard to their tightly held beliefs that they become nearly sociopathic.

And yet: I constantly talk with people who have so much goodwill. And compassion, and humor and just general decency.

So here's to fallibility! And to dropping beliefs and ideas and opinions that once may have served us, but no longer do. Keep your heart and mind wide open; everything is so much better that way!

If you have a story about something that caused a rethinking of any belief, we'd love to hear about it.

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