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How to Be an Expert in a Changing World

The experts and their ideas

The term expert defines a person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area. 

Experts are specialists who, as a rule, are always right when it comes to their topic. However, they are also the ones who are the most at risk to promote obsolete ideas unless they keep up with the development in their field.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Be an Expert in a Changing World

How to Be an Expert in a Changing World

http://www.paulgraham.com/ecw.html

paulgraham.com

4

Key Ideas

The experts and their ideas

The term expert defines a person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area. 

Experts are specialists who, as a rule, are always right when it comes to their topic. However, they are also the ones who are the most at risk to promote obsolete ideas unless they keep up with the development in their field.

Be ready to change your mind

Whenever you get stuck to an idea, you put yourself at risk to promote obsolete or just one-sided theories. You might, however, want to try keeping an open mind to the possibility of change. 

Change is unpredictable and being flexible enough to adjust in proper time is a sure key to growth.

Coming up with new ideas

As an expert, one should try to be as open-minded as possible. Solving all kinds of issues while taking into consideration all possible scenarios might simply turn out to be the best thing ever.

Focus on people

When trying to remain open-minded and to keep yourself away from obsolete ideas, you might want to consider surrounding yourself with creative people. 

After all, new ideas come from autonomous, sincere and spirited individuals. So better focusing on people than on creating new ideas while staying in the same old circle.

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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).

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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.

Charlie Munger
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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Beliefs Are Tattooed In The Mind
Beliefs Are Tattooed In The Mind

A University Of Iowa research states that once people form their beliefs, they are not likely to change their minds on the face of new information that clearly proves that their long-held beliefs a...

Feedback And Other's People's Opinions
  • Other people's opinions and feedback play a larger role than factual proof in debunking the existing thought patterns, beliefs and opinions of an individual.
  • While trying to tell right from wrong, like a multiple choice question, what other people are choosing plays an important role in the final choice.
  • Being an expert in a particular field also has the reverse effect, as one is less inclined to learn anything new, preferring the safety and comfort of the existing set of knowledge.
Changing People's Minds: Building A Bridge

A direct, upfront message aimed at debunking an existing belief has little effect on swaying an opinion, but if the message first presents the old belief and the justifications behind it, followed by the facts that try to refute the same, a bridge is created, and the impact is greater.

The backfire effect

Is a cognitive bias and it means that showing people evidence which proves that they are wrong is often ineffective, and can actually end up backfiring, by causing them to support their o...

Why the backfire effect appears

People experience  as a result of the process that they go through when they encounter information that contradicts their preexisting beliefs.

When people argue strongly enough against unwelcome information, they end up, in their mind, with more arguments that support their original stance.

Reducing other people’s backfire effect

If you’re trying to explain to someone the issues with their stance, you can mitigate the backfire effect by presenting new information in a way that encourages the other person to consider and internalize that information, instead of rejecting it outright.

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Rigid Thinking

The speed of technological and cultural development is requiring us to embrace types of thinking besides the rational, logical style of analysis that tends to be emphasized in our society.

Elastic Thinking

It is the capacity to be flexible, to embrace ambiguity, contradiction, and unconventional mindsets.

It is the ability to abandon our 'marriage' to our beliefs and assumptions, opening ourselves to new paradigms.

Explore The New

Elastic thinking is the way to cutting edge innovation, future visions, science fiction gems, and other great new ideas.

Our tendency to explore and learn has always created something new in the world.

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Many people think a good essay is persuasive. But more importantly, an essay should be useful.
There are four parts to a good essay:

  • correctness
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Correctness

An essay should be correct. However, to be correct is not enough if it is vague. 

Don't publish anything unless you're sure it's worth hearing. Write the first draft of an essay quickly, trying out all sorts of ideas. Then rewrite it very carefully, being sure to sift out anything that you're not sure of, or that is not true. Useful writing makes claims that are as strong as they can be without overstating it.

Strength

Strength comes from two things: thinking well, and the skillful use of qualification.

Qualifications can express many things: how broadly something applies, how you know it, how happy you are it's so, even how it could be falsified. As you try to refine the expression of an idea, adjust the qualification accordingly. The more you refine an idea, the less you'll need to qualify it. However, don't underestimate qualification. Learn to use its full range.

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Be the last to speak

This way, you'll be able to hear your team’s true thoughts, which you can to use to inform the opinion you yourself deliver at the end of the conversation.

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Shut down outside distractions

A key part of being a good listener is showing the speaker that he or she has your undivided attention. Close your laptop and put away your phone.

This gives those speakers the confidence to express themselves fully without feeling that they’re imposing on your time.

Mind your body language

7 percent of a message is conveyed through words. Body language plays a major role in how we communicate and how we listen.

When you’re listening, then, be aware of what your body language is saying to the speaker. Unfold your arms and be open to what this person has to say.

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Gibson’s law

“For every PhD, there is an equal and opposite PhD.” 

In law and public policy, for every qualified expert witness, there is an expert witness that will come to the opposite conclusion.

Brandolini's law

"The amount of energy needed to refute bullsh*t is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

Albert Brandolini's law acknowledges four truths:

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  • In law, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution (You often can't prove something didn't happen).
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  • Publishing an opinion has become very easy in the last two decades.

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People are often unaware of their people-pleasing behavior. The habit can become so ingrained that it's automatic.

It takes full commitment to stay aware with an intention to change. Write a list of all the things you would normally do in an effort to please. Take note of each time you do them and figure out how you will change it next time.

Drop the Label

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Never describe yourself as a people pleaser. Instead, describe your behavior as you make a decision to change it.

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Expect and prepare for change

Set aside some time regularly to create a list of important changes that you think could possibly happen. The purpose of this task is to open your mind to change and sharpen your ability to spot and respond to changes. 

Even if the events on your lists never happen, the practice of anticipating and preparing for change will give you a greater sense of command over your future.

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