Keep reading for FREE
During Jeff Bezos's tenure as CEO of Amazon, what was the number one quality he looked for when hiring people? Hard work and past accomplishments certainly mattered. But when the then-Amazon boss spoke at Basecamp he stressed another quality as most important: intellectual humility .
Bezos has "observed that the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they'd already solved. They're open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking”.
To reach your maximum potential you need to be willing to learn and improve, and that necessarily entails admitting you don't already have all the answers.
However, it's a well-established fact in psychology that humans in general are actually pretty bad at intellectual humility. As Duke University psychology professor Mark Leary recently explained on UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center , this makes intellectual humility a powerful advantage in reaching your goals in life.
In the course of this deep dive into the subject, Leary outlines a heap of research on the benefits of intellectual humility. "One of our studies showed that people high in intellectual humility were more attentive to the quality of the evidence in an article about the value of dental flossing, more clearly distinguishing good from bad reasons to floss," he writes.
Other studies show the intellectually humble give more careful consideration to evidence that contradicts their views and end up with a better understanding of those they disagree with (which can't hurt when it comes to empathy, persuasion, and negotiating compromises ). They're also better at eliciting creative and varied ideas from others.
"Intellectual humility is also associated with the desire to learn new information. People who are high in intellectual humility score higher in epistemic curiosity , which is the motivation to pursue new knowledge and ideas," Leary adds. "People higher in intellectual humility like to think more than people low in intellectual humility do."
On the flip side, those low in intellectual humility are more likely to get emotional with those who disagree with them and are rated as likable by others. They are less likely to compromise and even less likely to end up in satisfying relationships.
Intellectual humility might not be the most discussed trait, but research shows it's an essential precursor to almost any kind of excellence.
So how can we temper our natural human tendency toward overconfidence and nudge ourselves to be a little more humble about the limits of our knowledge? Leary uses logic to try to talk people around to a little more humility.
"People must see that approaching the world in a more intellectually humble fashion is both rational and beneficial," he writes. "Intellectual humility is rational in the sense that we can't all be right in most of our disagreements, we are often irrationally overconfident, and the evidence on which our beliefs and viewpoints are based is often rather flimsy.”
Intellectual humility therefore makes sense and is beneficial. And of course, Intellectual pride doesn't make sense and is detrimental. If we are rational beings, we should naturally pursue what’s beneficial. So, why would rational people be as sure of themselves as most of us are?
It's a pretty compelling argument for taking a long, hard look at whether you're as open to new information and ideas as you should be. And if it helps you can also remind yourself that this quality will certainly help you get a job with Jeff Bezos too.
MORE LIKE THIS
Ready for the next level?
Read Like a Pro
Explore the World’s
Take Your Ideas
Just press play and we take care of the words.
No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.
2 Million Stashers
Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.
Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.
This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!
Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.
Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.
Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.
Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.
I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!
Read & Learn
Access to 200,000+ ideas
Access to the mobile app
Unlimited idea saving & library
Unlimited listening to ideas
Downloading & offline access
Claim Your Limited Offer
Get Deepstash Pro