Adam Grant

“In a changing world, you have to be willing and able to change your mind. Otherwise, your expertise can fail, your opinions get out of date, and your ideas fall flat.”

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Why Thinking Like a Scientist Is Good for You

greatergood.berkeley.edu

Question our thinking: Why we find it difficult
  • One barrier is what psychologists call “cognitive entrenchment,” which is when you have so much knowledge in an area that you start to take for granted assumptions that need to be questioned.
  • A second barrier is motivation: "I don’t want to rethink; I’m comfortable with the way I’ve always done things. It makes me feel and look stupid if I admit that I was wrong."
  • The third reason is social. We don’t form beliefs in a vacuum. We generally end up with opinions that are influenced by and pretty much similar to the people in our social circles. So, there’s a risk that if I let go of some of my views, I might be excluded from my tribe, and I don’t want to take that risk.

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Thinking like a scientist does not mean you need to own a telescope or a microscope, but that you favor humility over pride and curiosity over conviction: You know what you don’t know, and you’re eager to discover new things. You don’t let your ideas become your identity. You look for reasons why you might be wrong, not just reasons why you must be right.

You listen to ideas that make you think hard, not just the ones that make you feel good. And you surround yourself with people who can challenge your process, not just the ones who agree with your conclusion.

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ADAM GRANT

If you don’t get good at rethinking, then you end up being wrong more often. I think it’s one of the great paradoxes of life: The quicker you are to recognize when you’re wrong, the less wrong you become.

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The whole point of rethinking is to change your mind in the face of better logic or stronger evidence—not to just roll the dice and say, I’m going to pick a random new opinion today.

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An attitude of wisdom as acting on the best information you have while doubting what you know. And for that you need humility.

But people misunderstand what humility is. Confident humility is being able to say, “I don’t know and I might be wrong,” or “I haven’t figured it out yet,” which is essentially believing in yourself but doubting your current knowledge or skills.

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This means that when you form an opinion, you make a list of conditions that would change your mind.

That keeps you honest, because once you get attached to an opinion, it’s really hard to let go. But if you identify factors that would change your mind up front, you keep yourself flexible.

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Adam Grant

“In some ways, the joy of being wrong is the freedom to keep learning.. If you can embrace the joy of being wrong, then you get to anchor your identity more in being someone who’s eager to discover new things, than someone who already knows everything.”

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