The personal website of Chris Coyier

Core Beliefs

Imagine you’re a really young kid, but you understand what people say to you.

They tell you things in a really serious way. They tell you this is the way things are. This is the truth.

But they say it differently than they say other things. You can tell. This seems important. This isn’t to be questioned or joked about.

The people telling you these things, they are your parents. They are everything to you.

Then not just your parents say these things, your grandparents do too. Other adults say these things, too. It’s everywhere. Everybody important in your life seems to be largely in agreement.

Plus, sometimes you go to a building and these things that are very big and serious and different are being talked about there. But more. That’s all anybody talks about at this building. All these adults take this building very seriously.

These things become core beliefs. You get older. You think about more things. You understand more things about the world. Everything squares with these core beliefs, because they have to. Core beliefs are the foundation of everything. They are you.

Some new things you learn are more malleable. You learn other new things and it changes other things you know. Your understanding of the world shifts and grows. You feel smart and open minded.

But everything still squares with your core beliefs. Those don’t change. You don’t think of them as core beliefs, they are just the way things are.

Eventually, to your shock, you find some people don’t have these same core beliefs as you. They seem like idiots. These things are so obviously true. These are unshakable, foundational truths. You avoid these people.

But you can’t avoid them forever. The more you deal with these unsettling people, another shock is in store. As wrong as they are about these big truths, somehow, they aren’t actually idiots. Somehow, they are also reasoning and intelligent people.

This never gets comfortable.