Learning to update your beliefs - Deepstash



5 Common Beliefs that Can Subtly Screw You Over

Learning to update your beliefs

We can never be 100% right about anything. There is always room for improvement. If your dating life is a continuous disaster, consider your beliefs about relationships, for example, believing that people are only interested in relationships for what they can get out of it. Or, if you're continually overspending, consider your beliefs about money.

If you keep running into the same problems over and over again in your life, it's probably time to update your beliefs.





Rigid Vs Malleable: Exploring the Ability to Change Ourselves
Rigid Vs Malleable: Exploring the Ability to Change Ourselves

How much we can change ourselves can be explored by looking at the extremes.

  • At one extreme (Rigidland ), our nature is fixed and unchanging. No amount of effort or ...
Arguments in Favor of Rigidity

Studies involving identical and fraternal twins (even reared apart) showed that most parts of our nature are partly heritable. Intelligence may be as high as 80% heritable, but 50% is the standard number of many of the domains, including personality.

However, being heritable isn't the same as being fixed. There might be a difference between inheriting different capabilities versus different preferences.

Arguments in Favor of Malleability

While genetic research stands out in favour of rigidity, there is contrary evidence.

  • One is that most psychology studies are done using Western undergraduates. This means that while we think we measure universal human functioning, we may be measuring culturally-specific ones.
  • If our abilities were fixed, then the amount of work required to get good is greatly reduced.
  • Positive feedback increases motivation and confidence. This means that if you started with a fixed advantage towards math, for example, it might increase as you gain more confidence and make you much, much better at math than you would have been without motivation and confidence.
Ignorance Of Our Own Ignorance
Ignorance Of Our Own Ignorance

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is the mind's tendency to overestimate one’s own knowledge or competence and to underestimate one’s own ignorance. It usually occurs when the informat...

The Four Types Of Information
  • Known Knowns: Things we know, like how to ride a bicycle.
  • Known Unknowns: Stuff we don’t understand, like quantum physics.
  • Unknown Knowns: Things we know but never realized that we knew it. Most of it comes naturally to us, like parenting or crying.
  • Unknown Unknowns: This is the information we have no clue about, and we don’t even know the fact that we don’t have a clue about this.

Most people have information in all these four types, making each brain a combination of a labyrinth and a jigsaw puzzle.

The Emotional Awareness Blindspot

We are heavily blind-spotted with regards to our unknown unknowns as we continue to believe our own rhetoric and start to project it on others.

Our delusion is further complicated by the fact that even if people point to us our problem, we are unable to believe them, due to our lack of emotional awareness.

The Blindspot Of Ignorance And Incompetence
The Blindspot Of Ignorance And Incompetence

Humans are not very good at self-evaluation and may be unaware of how ignorant they are. This psychological deficiency is known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect, where an illu...

Developing Meta-Cognition

Meta-cognitive skills are developed by:

  1. Self-reflection by journaling, along with a review of your progress and personal changes.
  2. Using second-level thinking by asking yourself about potential blind spots or missing information.
  3. Using mental models for testing your assumptions and separating the signal from the noise.
  4. Taking notes using an app or even pen and paper, trying to visualize your knowledge using diagrams and doodles.
  5. Being aware of the various cognitive biases that can cloud our thinking, and learning more about them.

Meta-cognition is the essential requirement to be able to gauge one’s competence or the lack of it.