Ever since the ancient time, people have been guided by their beliefs to change their surrouding environment. Scientists and politicians alike have been motivated by their tenacious beliefs to work out miracles that helped pushing the human civilization forward. But every coin has two sides. Beliefs should not be held to the extreme of obstinacy. Doing so would severely compromise the happiness and well-being of the believer as well as people around him.
First, beliefs can be quite misleading sometimes. Things like superstition could be a major snag in bringing people abreast with reality. Many developing countries have encountered problems in their social reforms mainly because the indigenous people have been deeply rooted in the beliefs of ancient traditions. While it is important to preserve those traditions, one must also try to extricate those people from the unscientific styles of living that have been the major cause for the lack of social and economic prosperity as well as viable living standards. Even in the industrialized world, beliefs could be quite biased, and incident upon government propaganda in a lot of situations. Indisputably, having a strong belief in what one is doing could dramatically boost the efficiency of the job that one is doing. This is especially true for soldiers who fight for the cause of a political power. But in many cases, those who fought the most valiantly turn out to be the biggest scapegoat in a diplomatic misjudgment or sacrifice.
Individually speaking, beliefs are also not a stable attribute to the average minds. A child probably has little understanding of what true beliefs entail. At the other extreme, an old man perhaps believes in something totally different than what he used to cherish when he was younger. One often bases his belief on his education background, hence inevitably falls prey to institutional prejudice. Besides constructive beliefs, there are also the ones whose sole aim is to destroy, such as those upheld by racists or cult members. To assert one’s belief, one often has to incur upon others’ rights and freedom. This is simply because we are living in a restrained world in which natural resources are scarce. To exercise one’s belief often means at the expense of others’ beliefs. That is precisely the origin of many religious persecutions throughout history. The appearance of heretic beliefs in an existing faith often arouses vehement objection and resentment from the more traditionally minded public. That is precisely because people often see difference in beliefs as a threat to the stability of their own positions in society. For example, their majority advantage might be compromised through the tolerance of diversity.
Many great achievements in human history do require a sense of perseverence engendered by strong beliefs. But behind the success stories also belie those who underwent long period of misguided trudging only to find out that their endeavors have either been carried through by others already or that their futility is evident upon more scrupulous judgment. To adhere to principle in such cases is certainly not a sapient move and could result in complete failure. Such tragedies are in fact quite common in the scientific community, whereupon people who work in the dark often waste a great amount of time and effort and are not rewarded in the end. Downletting experience like these will often be enough to completely destroy one’s confidence and terminate a promising career.
Many people do have strong tenacity to their dearly held beliefs. In many situations they are laudable for sticking with principles and displaying the strength of their moral characters. But under extreme circumstances, it will be plainly mulish to shut oneself away from advices of others around, who often are more clairvoyant than the hero himself. If one could just live under the aegis and guidance of his belief from the day he is born, then there will be no need for schooling, nor a circle of friends to bolster him in time of need. Therefore one must occasionally give up on his belief in order to move on in life and learn new things from life.