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October 23, 2020

Tabula Rasa / Blank Slate

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In the 17th Century British philosopher John Locke coined the term “Tabula Rasa”. This theory came counter to the traditional way of thinking, which was that genetics and biology determine who we become as people. Locke argued that we come as a blank slate in this world, like a sponge to new information, and that most of what we carry in our behavior and personal expression is learned and not genetically inherited.

If that's true, we can use this philosophy to start gaining an awareness of our own tendencies. If our tendencies are a product of the things we learned throughout our life, it means that this understanding is subjective and therefore can be changed.

If you grew up and your parents said “money doesn’t grow on trees” or “money can’t buy you happiness”, then that’s what you learned to be true about the world. In either case it’s the exposure to that thought that shapes your understanding and relationship with money. But by working through these learned behaviors, and gaining self-awareness about the root motivation and desire built into this way of thinking, you can rewrite what you believe to be true so that it’s more supportive of the person you want to be.

If we all are a tabula rasa, a blank slate, then that means we literally can become anything or anyone! The reason we are a certain way is because that’s what we’ve been taught to believe. So understand, the doubts you have about yourself, the limiting beliefs you hold, the biases you carry, your preferences - They all come from learned experience. And in order to start rewriting these default patterns, you need to unlearn and relearn something new.

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