The Power Of Keeping Your Identity Small In A Changing World
“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.”
This is a professional note extracted from an online article.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
“When experts are wrong, it’s often because they’re experts on an earlier version of the world.”
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.
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
It can feel impossible to persuade someone with strong views. This is in part because we look for information to confirm what we already know and avoid or dismiss facts that are opposed to our core...
We all tend to overrate the power of arguments we find convincing, and wrongly think the other side will be converted. It is pointless to argue a point that your opponents have already dismissed.
The answer is not to simply expose people to another point of view. Find out what resonates with them. Frame your message with buzzwords that reflect their values.
To try and sway the other side, use their morals against them. People have stable morals that influence their worldview.
However, reframing in terms of values might not turn your opponent's view, but can soften his stance and get him to listen to counterarguments.
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