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Intellectual humility: the importance of knowing you might be wrong

Intellectual humility

It means being actively curious about your blind spots. It’s not about lacking confidence, or self-esteem. It’s about entertaining the possibility that you may be wrong and being open to learning from the experience of others.

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Intellectual humility: the importance of knowing you might be wrong

Intellectual humility: the importance of knowing you might be wrong

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2019/1/4/17989224/intellectual-humility-explained-psychology-replication

vox.com

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Key Ideas

Intellectual humility

It means being actively curious about your blind spots. It’s not about lacking confidence, or self-esteem. It’s about entertaining the possibility that you may be wrong and being open to learning from the experience of others.

Why we need more intellectual humility

  1. Our culture promotes and rewards overconfidence and arrogance; 
  2. At the same time, when we are wrong — out of ignorance or error — and realize it, our culture doesn’t make it easy to admit it. Humbling moments too easily can turn into moments of humiliation.

Our reality will always be an interpretation

Even if we might tell ourselves our experience of the world is the truth. Our interpretations of reality are often arbitrary, but we're still stubborn about them. Light enters our eyes, sound waves enter our ears, chemicals waft into our noses, and it’s up to our brains to make a guess about what it all is. 

The Dunning-Kruger effect

It's a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are. Inexperience masquerades as expertise. And we tend to see it in other people, but we don’t see it in ourselves.

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Acknowledging our ignorance

The modern world does not encourage people to admit when they lack knowledge or skills.
However, when we don't acknowledge our ignorance, we limit our chances for personal improvement.

The Dangers of Certainty

Although we are naturally curious as children, school teaches us that there is a specific set of facts to memorize and that we should not question these facts. If we don't know something, we're taught to guess.

Once the curiosity has been driven out of us in school and we're moving into the workforce, we're even less likely to say we don't know.

We feign certainty

We're afraid to admit when we don't know something for sure and expect not to see uncertainty in others. It can be disastrous.

Consider the case in which a business spent hundreds of millions on an ineffective advertising campaign because they refused even to ask if it was working.

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The Way We See The World

Each of us looks at things differently, and it's largely based on our thinking patterns, education levels, inherent bias, self-identity, and real, first-hand experiences.

Higher Mind Vs Primitive Mind

Human beings tend to have two kinds of conflicting mindsets:

  • The Higher Mind, the conscious truth-seeking mind, has made human beings an advanced civilization.
  • The Primitive Mind is our hardwired, thousands-of-years-old survivalist part, the one that's still stuck in the dark ages.
The Psych Spectrum

Our Higher Mind and the Primitive Mind always have a tug-of-war like conflict. The degree of the conflict can be placed in a spectrum, which is called a Psych Spectrum.

If the Higher mind is in control, we are placed higher in the Psych Spectrum and have the Primitive Mind under check. If we are placed at a lower degree in the Psych Spectrum, then the Primitive Mind is under control.

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Bad learning = brain damage

A knock on the head isn’t the only way to “impair” our brains. Brain damage can be caused by anything that physically changes our brains in a way that makes us less intelligent or functional...

Our 🧠 physically changes when we learn

Researchers found that certain parts of the brain of London taxi drivers who completed the training process were significantly larger than aspiring drivers who dropped out of the training program. 

This shows that the training program was the cause of the growth. 🤯

Assuming that all learning is inherently good
Just like eating McDonald’s doesn’t make us healthier, “junk” or “fake” learning doesn’t make us smarter. In fact, this kind of learning actually makes us dumber.

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