Maybe it is time to have fewer opinions

A look into how your opinions shape your future

Vini

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Your opinions determine who you are and who you will be. This is not a revolutionary realization, but it is a crucial notion to have around.

In the meaning I’m trying to convey here, opinions are any formed judgment you might hold about reality. A value you attribute to something, usually taken from a pool of other possible ones. It goes from “I like broccoli” to “I am Christian.”

At first glance, the statement sounds like a tautology: the present is always a necessary condition to the future, so inevitably, what I am, say, and do now will determine what I will be, say and do in the future. But the relationship between opinions and your future is a more intimate one.

A general idea of how this relationship unfolds has been running through my mind for a while. Still, I couldn’t frame it in an intelligible way until I looked at it through the lenses of the Narrative Theory of Personality. Or, to better put it, through the overly-simplified filtered version I, a humble, curious mind, made of it.

Our self stories

The Narrative Theory of Personality is a psychology theory that postulates that we build our identity by constructing an actual story of ourselves. We put together our past, present, and future into a cohesive narrative with scenarios, characters, plots, etc. We then use this construct to make sense and reflect on our identity. We also share parts of it with others around us to have a glimpse at who we are.

The psychology professor Dan McAdams, the first researcher to completely formalize this theory, explains that this phenomenon of “constructing a narrative of our self” has its origins in our late adolescence and young adulthood. In his paper, The Psychology of Life Stories, professor McAdams mentions the following of this period of life:

“In general, Western societies ‘expect’ adolescents and young adults to begin to examine the occupational…

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Vini

Learning to code, to think, to fast, and to wait — writing thoughts https://vicnicius.com