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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“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 Otherwise, your expertise can fail, your opinions get out of date, and your ideas fall flat.”
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
The ability to let others talk and not interrupt them is a skill that you must practice on a daily basis. This allows us to see more of the other person rather than ourselves.
Back in the 1990s, a woman naming Betty Bigombe was able to befriend a warlord by providing an opportunity for them to share their views. Betty Bigombe became Uganda's Woman of the Year for having initiated the peace talks to put an end to the violence between Kony and the Ugandan president and its people.
Humans have a long history of cooperating together, which has helped us survive and thrive for hundreds of thousands of years in places around the world.
There is a pervasive form of zero-sum thinking that holds that we should look out for number one, and that helping others or being kind is a mug’s game where you somehow lose out by doing so. But this is completely untrue. The history of life on earth is a history of teamwork, of collective action, and of cooperation. Being part of a team is better than going it alone. Cooperation has been and still is the route to our species’s success.
Many workplaces encourage their employees to be vulnerable and authentic as it can bring people closer and make teams stronger.
But doing so can also backfire. Many people fear to be vulnerable at the wrong time or with the wrong person. It may make them seem incompetent if they’re in a more performance-oriented culture at work.
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