The Power of Changing Your Mind
Prof. Tim Noakes has been a leading light in the field of sports science in South Africa and internationally for decades. His work has earned him numerous awards and accolades in the discipline of exercise physiology. Many have turned to his expertise in their efforts to enhance their athletic performance.
It therefore came as a shock to many people – including those in the scientific community – when he did an about turn on his earlier views regarding carbo-loading and the value of carbohydrates in health and performance.
The knives came out. “Irresponsible”. “Disgrace”. “Charlatan”. Some even accused him of quackery and pseudoscience.
All because he changed his mind.
I have no opinion either way in the carbohydrate vs. low-carb-high-fat debate. But I can say this: the man is brave! It’s not easy to go against so much of what you previously believed and advocated. It takes courage to change your mind in such a public manner.
Do you have fixed beliefs about a particular topic?
If new information became available, how willing would you be to change your mind if doing so would risk your professional reputation?
To what extent are you open to views that are different from your own?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking here about flip-flopping from one position to another at the slightest whim. Rather, I mean the willingness to be convinced enough to change your mind about something. Do you agree with John Milton Keynes statement: “When the facts change, I change my mind.”?
The ability to change your mind is a valuable skill.
It speaks to your capacity to learn and grow; to reflect meaningfully on new information and experiences; and to arrive at new conclusions based on insights you didn’t previously have.
It also points to your ability to listen to others with an open mind, to suspend judgement, and to be humble enough to say “I was wrong”.
Changing your mind is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it might just be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.