The Power Of Keeping Your Identity Small In A Changing World

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We build our lives around certain core beliefs. And discussing them will most likely yield anger and indignation (i.e discussing religion or politics).

We usually fail to adjust to the evidence put before us regarding these beliefs. Because to have them torn down would be to admit that a large part of our reality is false.

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Rather than be opinionated, we should strive to be informed.

We should know the other side’s argument better than they know theirs. Instead of attacking a straw man, aim to knock down the strongest version of an argument you disagree with.

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Charlie Munger

“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.”

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The best way to keep your identity small is to enter multiple domains.

Diversifying means that you won’t commit and defend a position simply because it’s so tied to your identity. It stops you from attaching a label to yourself.

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Seek out disconfirming evidence. Challenge the status quo. Have strong opinions, but hold them loosely. Avoid becoming a prisoner of your own expertise.

When you know it’s likely you’ll be wrong over time, you’re less likely to attach your identity to a fixed position.

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Paul Graham

“When experts are wrong, it’s often because they’re experts on an earlier version of the world.”

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Conversations are supposed to generate new ideas, not to turn into heated arguments. 

But that will most likely be the result when we discuss anything that’s central to our identity.

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