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"In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few."
Shoshin is the Japanese Zen term for a "beginner's mind' and refers to a paradox: The more knowledge you have on a subject, the more likely you are to close your mind to further learning.
Intellectually humble people know more because they are open to new information and more willing to be receptive to other people's perspectives.
Approaching issues with a beginner's mind or intellectual humility can help you become more knowledgeable, less overconfident, and more willing to engage with others.
Most of us overestimate our understanding of various subjects, known as the 'illusions of explanatory depth.' When you make an effort to explain a relevant issue or topic to yourself or someone else in detail, it will reveal the gaps in your knowledge and expose the illusion of expertise.
This exercise can be simplified by spending a few seconds reflecting on your ability to explain a given issue to a real expert in a step-by-step manner.
Confirmation bias is a major hurdle to being open-minded: We seek information supporting our current views and beliefs.
We can overcome this bias by being aware of it. We can take steps to work against it by actively pursuing information and perspectives that contradict our current position.
If we see intelligence and aptitudes as pliable rather than fixed, we can learn better.
A series of studies showed that intellectually humble people also tended to have a growth mindset. If you see intelligence as something you can develop, then finding holes in your knowledge opens up new opportunities for education.
Deliberately invoking the emotion of awe quietens the ego. It also creates a greater willingness to look at things differently while recognizing the gaps in one's knowledge.
Invoking the emotions of awe and wonder, such as looking at the aurora borealis, also reduces the need to be satisfied by closed arguments.
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