“Everybody is a genius. but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” – – Albert Einstein

All the notes were taken directly from the source mentioned.

– – –

Intelligence is traditionally viewed as the ability to think and learn. Yet in a turbulent world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn.

Part of the problem is cognitive laziness. Some psychologists point out that we’re mental misers: we often prefer the ease of hanging on to old views over the difficulty of grappling with new ones.

We laugh at people who still use Windows 95, yet we still cling to opinions that we formed in 1995. We listen to views that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard.

It’s not the frogs who fail to reevaluate. It’s us. Once we hear the story and accept it as true, we rarely bother to question it.

A hallmark of wisdom is knowing when it’s time to abandon some of your most treasured tools and some of the most cherished parts of your identity.

Unfortunately, when it comes to our own knowledge and opinions, we often favor feeling right over being right.

We often slip into the mindsets of three different professions: preachers, prosecutors, and politicians.

Preacher mode when our sacred beliefs are in jeopardy: we deliver sermons to protect and promote our ideals.

We enter prosecutor mode when we recognize flaws in other people’s reasoning:

We shift into politician mode when we’re seeking to win over an audience:

If you’re a scientist by trade, rethinking is fundamental to your profession. You’re paid to be constantly aware of the limits of your understanding. You’re expected to doubt what you know, be curious about what you don’t know, and update your views based on new data.

We move into scientist mode when we’re searching for the truth: we run experiments to test hypotheses and discover knowledge.

I’m beginning to think decisiveness is overrated, but I reserve the right to change my mind.

No matter how much brainpower you have, if you lack the motivation to change your mind, you’ll miss many occasions to think again.

Research reveals that the higher you score on an IQ test, the more likely you are to fall for stereotypes, because you’re faster at recognizing patterns.

The better you are at crunching numbers, the more spectacularly you fail at analyzing patterns that contradict your views.

In psychology there are at least two biases that drive this pattern. One is confirmation bias: seeing what we expect to see. The other is desirability bias: seeing what we want to see.

When we’re in scientist mode, we refuse to let our ideas become ideologies. We don’t start with answers or solutions; we lead with questions and puzzles. We don’t preach from intuition; we teach from evidence. We don’t just have healthy skepticism about other people’s arguments; we dare to disagree with our own arguments.

In preacher mode, changing our minds is a mark of moral weakness; in scientist mode, it’s a sign of intellectual integrity. In prosecutor mode, allowing ourselves to be persuaded is admitting defeat; in scientist mode, it’s a step toward the truth. In politician mode, we flip-flop in response to carrots and sticks; in scientist mode, we shift in the face of sharper logic and stronger data.

Cognitive flexibility, their willingness to move from one extreme to the other as the occasion requires.

Recognizing our shortcomings opens the door to doubt. As we question our current understanding, we become curious about what information we’re missing.

In a meta-analysis of ninety-five studies involving over a hundred thousand people, women typically underestimated their leadership skills, while men overestimated their skills.

Dunning-Kruger effect, it’s when we lack competence that we’re most likely to be brimming with overconfidence.

If we’re certain that we know something, we have no reason to look for gaps and flaws in our knowledge let alone fill or correct them.

In one study, the people who scored the lowest on an emotional intelligence test weren’t just the most likely to overestimate their skills. They were also the most likely to dismiss their scores as inaccurate or irrelevant and the least likely to invest in coaching or self-improvement.

We’re also prone to overconfidence in situations where it’s easy to confuse experience for expertise, like driving, typing, trivia, and managing emotions.

It’s not their lack of skill alone that proves hazardous; it’s their overestimation of that skill.

Arrogance is ignorance plus conviction, blogger Tim Urban explains. While humility is a permeable filter that absorbs life experience and converts it into knowledge and wisdom, arrogance is a rubber shield that life experience simply bounces off of.

One of the Latin roots of humility means from the earth. It’s about being grounded recognizing that we’re flawed and fallible.

You can be confident in your ability to achieve a goal in the future while maintaining the humility to question whether you have the right tools in the present. That’s the sweet spot of confidence.

We can be consumed by an inferiority complex when we know the right method but feel uncertain about our ability to execute it.

What we want to attain is confident humility: having faith in our capability while appreciating that we may not have the right solution or even be addressing the right problem.

When adults have the confidence to acknowledge what they don’t know, they pay more attention to how strong evidence is and spend more time reading material that contradicts their opinions.

The standard explanation for their accomplishments is that they succeed in spite of their doubts, but what if their success is actually driven in part by those doubts?

The first upside of feeling like an impostor is that it can motivate us to work harder.

If we never worry about letting other people down, we’re more likely to actually do so.

Second, impostor thoughts can motivate us to work smarter. When we don’t believe we’re going to win, we have nothing to lose by rethinking our strategy.

Third, feeling like an impostor can make us better learners. Having some doubts about our knowledge and skills takes us off a pedestal, encouraging us to seek out insights from others.

As psychologist Elizabeth Krumrei Mancuso and her colleagues write, Learning requires the humility to realize one has something to learn.

They maintain doubts because they know we’re all partially blind and they’re committed to improving their sight. They don’t boast about how much they know; they marvel at how little they understand. They’re aware that each answer raises new questions, and the quest for knowledge is never finished. A mark of lifelong learners is recognizing that they can learn something from everyone they meet.

Philosophy of life, including their core values and guiding principles.

The goal is not to be wrong more often. It’s to recognize that we’re all wrong more often than we’d like to admit, and the more we deny it, the deeper the hole we dig for ourselves.

In a classic paper, sociologist Murray Davis argued that when ideas survive, it’s not because they’re trueit’s because they’re interesting.

As physicist Richard Feynman quipped, You must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.

Neuroscientists find that when our core beliefs are challenged, it can trigger the amygdala, the primitive lizard brain that breezes right past cool rationality and activates a hot fight-or-flight response.

I’ve learned that two kinds of detachment are especially useful: detaching your present from your past and detaching your opinions from your identity.

Over time, though, rethinking who you are appears to become mentally healthy as long as you can tell a coherent story about how you got from past to present you.

Values are your core principles in lifethey might be excellence and generosity, freedom and fairness, or security and integrity. Basing your identity on these kinds of principles enables you to remain open-minded about the best ways to advance them.

If you want to be a better forecaster today, it helps to let go of your commitment to the opinions you held yesterday.

When the facts change, I change my opinions.

People who are right a lot listen a lot, and they change their mind a lot, Jeff Bezos says. If you don’t change your mind frequently, you’re going to be wrong a lot.

Their opinions were their identities. An assault on their worldview was a threat to their very sense of self. Their inner dictator rushed in to protect them.

Fearing that conflict will make children anxious or somehow damage their character.

Yet research shows that how often parents argue has no bearing on their children’s academic, social, or emotional development. What matters is how respectfully parents argue, not how frequently.

Them. If you’re highly disagreeable, you might be happier in an argument than in a friendly conversation.

Agreeable people make for a great support network: they’re excited to encourage us and cheerlead for us. Rethinking depends on a different kind of network: a challenge network, a group of people we trust to point out our blind spots and help us overcome our weaknesses.

Disagreeable givers often make the best critics: their intent is to elevate the work, not feed their own egos. They don’t criticize because they’re insecure; they challenge because they care.

Agreeableness is about seeking social harmony, not cognitive consensus. It’s possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

A major problem with task conflict is that it often spills over into relationship conflict.

When we argue about why, we run the risk of becoming emotionally attached to our positions and dismissive of the other side’s. We’re more likely to have a good fight if we argue about how.

When social scientists asked people why they favor particular policies on taxes, health care, or nuclear sanctions, they often doubled down on their convictions. Asking people to explain how those policies would work in practice or how they’d explain them to an expert activated a rethinking cycle. They noticed gaps in their knowledge, doubted their conclusions, and became less extreme; they were now more curious about alternative options.

Growing up, I was taught by my karate sensei never to start a fight unless I was prepared to be the only one standing at the end.

In a negotiation, agreeing with someone else’s argument is disarming. The experts recognized that in their dance they couldn’t stand still and expect the other person to make all the moves. To get in harmony, they needed to step back from time to time.

Yet the experts did the exact opposite: They actually presented fewer reasons to support their case.

The more reasons we put on the table, the easier it is for people to discard the shakiest one. Once they reject one of our justifications, they can easily dismiss our entire case.

The skilled negotiators rarely went on offense or defense. Instead, they expressed curiosity with questions like So you don’t see any merit in this proposal at all?

Of every five comments the experts made, at least one ended in a question mark.

We won’t have much luck changing other people’s minds if we refuse to change ours. We can demonstrate openness by acknowledging where we agree with our critics and even what we’ve learned from them. Then, when we ask what views they might be willing to revise,

Harish told me. You should be willing to listen to what someone else is saying and give them a lot of credit for it. It makes you sound like a reasonable person who is taking everything into account.

Research suggests that the effectiveness of these approaches hinges on three key factors: how much people care about the issue, how open they are to our particular argument, and how strong-willed they are in general. If they’re not invested in the issue or they’re receptive to our perspective, more reasons can help: people tend to see quantity as a sign of quality. The more the topic matters to them, the more the quality of reasons matters.

Psychologists have long found that the person most likely to persuade you to change your mind is you. You get to pick the reasons you find most compelling, and you come away with a real sense of ownership over them.

Many studies across a range of industries have shown that once people are earning enough to meet their basic needs, paying them more doesn’t stop them from leaving bad jobs and bad bosses.

In the hierarchy of disagreement created by computer scientist Paul Graham, the highest form of argument is refuting the central point, and the lowest is name-calling.

This is a fifth move that expert negotiators made more often than average negotiators. They were more likely to comment on their feelings about the process and test their understanding of the other side’s feelings:

In a heated argument, you can always stop and ask, What evidence would change your mind? If the answer is nothing, then there’s no point in continuing the debate.

Communicating it with some uncertainty signals confident humility, invites curiosity, and leads to a more nuanced discussion.

There’s evidence that people are more interested in hiring candidates who acknowledge legitimate weaknesses as opposed to bragging or humble bragging.

An informed audience is going to spot the holes in our case anyway. We might as well get credit for having the humility to look for them, the foresight to spot them, and the integrity to acknowledge them.

They realized that they weren’t looking for a set of skills and credentials they were looking to hire a human being with the motivation and ability to learn.

Polarization is reinforced by conformity: peripheral members fit in and gain status by following the lead of the most prototypical member of the group, who often holds the most intense views.

Interacting with members of another group reduced prejudice in 94 percent of the cases.

The goal isn’t to tell people what to do; it’s to help them break out of overconfidence cycles and see new possibilities.

The process of motivational interviewing involves three key techniques: Asking open-ended questions Engaging in reflective listening Affirming the person’s desire and ability to change.

When people ignore advice, it isn’t always because they disagree with it. Sometimes they’re resisting the sense of pressure and the feeling that someone else is controlling their decision.

The idea is to explain your understanding of other people’s reasons for change, to check on whether you’ve missed or misrepresented anything, and to inquire about their plans and possible next steps.

Motivational interviewing requires a genuine desire to help people reach their goals.

We can all get better at asking truly curious questions that don’t have the hidden agenda of fixing, saving, advising, convincing or correcting, journalist Kate Murphy writes, and helping to facilitate the clear expression of another person’s thoughts.* When we’re trying to get people to change, that can be a difficult task. Even if we have the best intentions, we can easily slip into the mode of a preacher perched on a pulpit, a prosecutor making a closing argument, or a politician giving a stump speech. We’re all vulnerable to the righting reflex…

Psychologists recommend practicing this skill by sitting down with people whom we sometimes have a hard time understanding.

The aim was to build a trusting relationship. If you present information without permission, no one will listen to you.

The power of listening doesn’t lie just in giving people the space to reflect on their views. It’s a display of respect and an expression of care.

Talk sit’s easy to conclude that the ends justify whatever means are necessary. But it’s worth remembering that the means are a measure of our character.

Easy to conclude that the ends justify whatever means are necessary. But it’s worth remembering that the means are a measure of our character. When we succeed in changing someone’s mind, we shouldn’t only ask whether we’re proud of what we’ve achieved. We should also ask whether we’re proud of how we’ve achieved it.

But Peter went on to do something far more impressive. He randomly assigned some pairs to read another version of the same article, which led 100 percent of them to generate and sign a joint statement about abortion laws.

That version of the article featured the same information but presented it differently. Instead of describing the issue as a black-and-white disagreement between two sides, the article framed the debate as a complex problem with many shades of gray, representing a number of different viewpoints.

At the turn of the last century, the great hope for the internet was that it would expose us to different views. But as the web welcomed a few billion fresh voices and vantage points into the conversation, it also became a weapon of misinformation and disinformation.

Knowing another side exists isn’t sufficient to leave preachers doubting whether they’re on the right side of morality, prosecutors questioning whether they’re on the right side of the case, or politicians wondering whether they’re on the right side of history.

Presenting two extremes isn’t the solution; it’s part of the polarization problem.

To paraphrase the humorist Robert Benchley, there are two kinds of people: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t.

I don’t really even believe in political parties. As an organizational psychologist, I want to vet candidates’ leadership skills before I worry about their policy positions. As a citizen, I believe it’s my responsibility to form an independent opinion on each issue.

Resisting the impulse to simplify is a step toward becoming more argument literate.

When the only available options are black and white, it’s natural to slip into a mentality of us versus them and to focus on the sides over the science.

Skeptics have a healthy scientific stance: They don’t believe everything they see, hear, or read. They ask critical questions and update their thinking as they gain access to new information. Deniers are in the dismissive camp, locked in preacher, prosecutor, or politician mode: They don’t believe anything that comes from the other side.

As the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry put it in a plea to the media, skepticism is foundational to the scientific method, whereas denial is the a priori rejection of ideas without objective consideration.

When someone knowledgeable admits uncertainty, it surprises people, and they end up paying more attention to the substance of the argument.

Although diversity of background and thought has the potential to help groups think more broadly and process information more deeply, that potential is realized in some situations but not others.

Instead of arguing about whether emotional intelligence is meaningful, we should be focusing on the contingencies that explain when it’s more and less consequential.

If you’re a real estate agent, a customer service representative, or a counselor, being skilled at perceiving, understanding, and managing emotions can help you support your clients and address their problems.

From time to time I’ve run into idea cults groups that stir up a batch of oversimplified intellectual Kool-Aid and recruit followers to serve it widely. They preach the merits of their pet concept and prosecute anyone who calls for nuance or complexity. In the area of health, idea cults defend detox diets and cleanses long after they’ve been exposed as snake oil. In education, there are idea cults around learning styles the notion that instruction should be tailored to each student’s preference for learning through auditory, visual, or kinesthetic modes. Some teachers are determined to tailor their instruction accordingly despite decades of evidence that although students might enjoy listening, reading, or doing, they don’t actually learn better that way. In psychology, I’ve inadvertently offended members of idea cults when I’ve shared evidence that meditation isn’t the only way to prevent stress or promote mindfulness; that when it comes to reliability and validity, the Myers-Briggs personality tool falls somewhere between a horoscope and a heart monitor; and that being more authentic can sometimes make us less successful. If you find yourself saying ____ is always good or ____ is never bad, you may be a member of an idea cult.

In the moral philosophy of John Rawls, the veil of ignorance asks us to judge the justice of a society by whether we’d join it without knowing our place in it.

In a pair of experiments, randomly assigning people to reflect on the intentions and interests of their political opposites made them less receptive to rethinking their own attitudes on health care and universal basic income.

Perspective-taking consistently fails because we’re terrible mind readers. We’re just guessing.

What works is not perspective-taking but perspective-seeking: actually talking to people to gain insight into the nuances of their views.

If an ideological opponent merely began by acknowledging that I have a lot of respect for people like you who stand by their principles, people were less likely to see her as an adversary and showed her more generosity.

Using an outdated textbook would be a sign that you don’t know your material, and it would be embarrassing if your students noticed the error before you did.

The lesson led them to start thinking like scientists and questioning what they were learning: whose story was included, whose was excluded, and what were they missing if only one or two perspectives were shared?

Their active learning culminates in a group project: they pick a chapter from their textbook, choosing a time period that interests them and a theme in history that they see as underrepresented. Then they go off to rewrite it.

Intellectual humility, disseminating doubt, and cultivating curiosity.

There’s a huge difference between learning about other people’s false beliefs and actually learning to unbelieve things ourselves.

(1) interrogate information instead of simply consuming it, (2) reject rank and popularity as a proxy for reliability, and (3) understand that the sender of information is often not its source.

In the active-learning session, instead of doing the example problems himself, the instructor sends the class off to figure them out in small groups, wandering around to ask questions and offer tips before walking the class through the solution.

It’s clear that these lectures are entertaining and informative.

For a long time, I believed that we learn more when we’re having fun. This research convinced me I was wrong. It also reminded me of my favorite physics teacher, who got stellar reviews for letting us play Ping-Pong in class, but didn’t quite make the coefficient of friction stick.

Lectures aren’t designed to accommodate dialogue or disagreement; they turn students into passive receivers of information.

Experiments have shown that when a speaker delivers an inspiring message, the audience scrutinizes the material less carefully and forgets more of the content even while claiming to remember more of it.

The sage-on-the-stage often preaches new thoughts, but rarely teaches us how to think for ourselves. Thoughtful lecturers might prosecute inaccurate arguments and tell us what to think instead, but they don’t necessarily show us how to rethink moving forward. Charismatic speakers can put us under a political spell, under which we follow them to gain their approval or affiliate with their tribe. We should be persuaded by the substance of an argument, not the shiny package in which it’s wrapped.

Nozick taught one course on truth; another on philosophy and neuroscience; a third on Socrates, Buddha, and Jesus; a fourth on thinking about thinking; and a fifth on the Russian Revolution.

Nozick’s approach was that he wasn’t content for students to learn from him. He wanted them to learn with him.

Set a benchmark: every year I would aim to throw out 20 percent of my class and replace it with new material.

Assigned students to work in small groups to record their own mini-podcasts or miniTED talks. Their charge was to question a popular practice, to champion an idea that went against the grain of conventional wisdom, or to challenge principles covered in class.

This tracks with evidence that, across a wide range of industries, grades are not a strong predictor of job performance.

The students encouraged their younger selves to stay open to different majors, instead of declaring the first one that erased their uncertainty. To be less obsessed with grades, and more focused on relationships. To explore different career possibilities, rather than committing too soon to the one that promised the most pay or prestige.

Ron Berger.

Ron has devoted his life to teaching students an ethic of excellence. Mastering a craft, in his experience, is about constantly revising our thinking. Hands-on craftsmanship is the foundation for his classroom philosophy.

The lesson was that scientists always have many options, and their frameworks are useful in some ways but arbitrary in others.

Psychologists find that one of the hallmarks of an open mind is responding to confusion with curiosity and interest. One student put it eloquently: I need time for my confusion. Confusion can be a cue that there’s new territory to be explored or a fresh puzzle to be solved.

He started encouraging students to think like young scientists: they would identify problems, develop hypotheses, and design their own experiments to test them.

Ron wanted to teach his students to revise their thinking based on input from others, so he turned the classroom into a challenge network.

I believe that good teachers introduce new thoughts, but great teachers introduce new ways of thinking.

In learning cultures, the norm is for people to know what they don’t know, doubt their existing practices, and stay curious about new routines to try out.

Psychologically safe teams reported more errors, but they actually made fewer errors. By freely admitting their mistakes, they were then able to learn what had caused them and eliminate them moving forward.

Edmondson is quick to point out that psychological safety is not a matter of relaxing standards, making people comfortable, being nice and agreeable, or giving unconditional praise. It’s fostering a climate of respect, trust, and openness in which people can raise concerns and suggestions without fear of reprisal. It’s the foundation of a learning culture.

In performance cultures, the emphasis on results often undermines psychological safety. When we see people get punished for failures and mistakes, we become worried about proving our competence and protecting our careers. We learn to engage in self-limiting behavior, biting our tongues rather than voicing questions and concerns. Sometimes that’s due to power distance: we’re afraid of challenging the big boss at the top. The pressure to conform to authority is real, and those who dare to deviate run the risk of backlash. In performance cultures, we also censor ourselves in the presence of experts who seem to know all the answers especially if we lack confidence in our own expertise.

By admitting some of their imperfections out loud, managers demonstrated that they could take it and made a public commitment to remain open to feedback.

In performance cultures, people often become attached to best practices. The risk is that once we’ve declared a routine the best, it becomes frozen in time.

Along with outcome accountability, we can create process accountability by evaluating how carefully different options are considered as people make decisions.

When we dedicate ourselves to a plan and it isn’t going as we hoped, our first instinct isn’t usually to rethink it. Instead, we tend to double down and sink more resources in the plan. This pattern is called escalation of commitment.

Escalation of commitment happens because we’re rationalizing creatures, constantly searching for self-justifications for our prior beliefs as a way to soothe our egos, shield our images, and validate our past decisions.

When they see work as what they do rather than who they are, they become more open to exploring different possibilities.

Think it’s better to lose the past two years of progress than to waste the next twenty.

My favorite framework for navigating that challenge comes from a management professor, Herminia Ibarra.

A first step is to entertain possible selves: identify some people you admire within or outside your field, and observe what they actually do at work day by day. A second step is to develop hypotheses about how these paths might align with your own interests, skills, and values. A third step is to test out the different identities by running experiments: do informational interviews, job shadowing, and sample projects to get a taste of the work. The goal is not to confirm a particular plan but to expand your repertoire of possible selves which keeps you open to rethinking.

I asked him how old he was when he formed that vision of a partner and how much he’d changed since then.

In my student’s case, it meant rethinking who his fiance would be, but also staying open to who she might become.

Psychologists find that the more people value happiness, the less happy they often become with their lives. It’s true for people who naturally care about happiness and for people who are randomly assigned to reflect on why happiness matters. There’s even evidence that placing a great deal of importance on happiness is a risk factor for depression. Why? One possibility is that when we’re searching for happiness, we get too busy evaluating life to actually experience it. Instead of savoring our moments of joy, we ruminate about why our lives aren’t more joyful. A second likely culprit is that we spend too much time striving for peak happiness, overlooking the fact that happiness depends more on the frequency of positive emotions than their intensity. A third potential factor is that when we hunt for happiness, we overemphasize pleasure at the expense of purpose.

A fourth explanation is that Western conceptions of happiness as an individual state leave us feeling lonely. In more collectivistic Eastern cultures, that pattern is reversed: pursuing happiness predicts higher well-being, because people prioritize social engagement over independent activities.

In a series of studies, students who changed their environments by adjusting their living arrangements or course schedules quickly returned to their baseline levels of happiness. As Ernest Hemingway wrote, You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. Meanwhile, students who changed their actions by joining a new club, adjusting their study habits, or starting a new project experienced lasting gains in happiness. Our happiness often depends more on what we do than where we are. It’s our actions not our surroundings that bring us meaning and belonging.

By investing in learning and problem solving, we can develop our passions and build the skills necessary to do the work and lead the lives we find worthwhile.

Interest doesn’t always lead to effort and skill; sometimes it follows them. By investing in learning and problem solving, we can develop our passions and build the skills necessary to do the work and lead the lives we find worthwhile.

My favorite test of meaningful work is to ask: if this job didn’t exist, how much worse off would people be?

Phase 1: I’m not important Phase 2: I’m important Phase 3: I want to contribute to something important

Those only are happy, philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way.

At work and in life, the best we can do is plan for what we want to learn and contribute over the next year or two, and stay open to what might come next.

E. L. Doctorow, writing out a plan for your life is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

It takes humility to reconsider our past commitments, doubt to question our present decisions, and curiosity to reimagine our future plans.

In times of crisis as well as times of prosperity, what we need more is a leader who accepts uncertainty, acknowledges mistakes, learns from others, and rethinks plans.

When people lack knowledge about a complex topic like stopping a pandemic or reinvigorating an economy they might be comfortable with leaders admitting what they don’t know today and doubting the statements they made yesterday. When people feel more informed and the problem is simpler, they might dismiss leaders who acknowledge uncertainty and change their minds as flip-floppers.

See yourself as someone who values curiosity, learning, mental flexibility, and searching for knowledge. As you form opinions, keep a list of factors that would change your mind.

If you’re interested in working on your rethinking skills, here are my top thirty practical takeaways.

1. Think like a scientist.

2. Define your identity in terms of values, not opinions.

3. Seek out information that goes against your views.

Don’t confuse confidence with competence.

You can have confidence in your capacity to learn while questioning your current solution to a problem.

An easy place to start is to follow people who make you think even if you usually disagree with what they think.

Ask people what they’ve been rethinking lately, or start a conversation about times you’ve changed your mind in the past year.

8. Build a challenge network, not just a support network.

To make sure they know you’re open to dissenting views, tell them why you respect their pushback and where they usually add the most value.

Try framing disagreement as a debate: people are more likely to approach it intellectually and less likely to take it personally.

Increase your question-to-statement ratio.

Question how rather than why.

When they try to explain how they would make their views a reality, they often realize the limits of their understanding and start to temper some of their opinions.

Ask “What evidence would change your mind?”

Ask “how people originally formed an opinion.”

Acknowledge common ground.

Remember that less is often more. If you pile on too many different reasons to support your case, it can make your audiences defensive and cause them to reject your entire argument based on its least compelling points. Instead of diluting your argument, lead with a few of your strongest points.

Reinforce freedom of choice.

It helps to respect their autonomy by reminding them that it’s up to them to choose what they believe.

Have a conversation about the conversation.

Like the expert negotiators who comment on their feelings and test their understanding of the other side’s feelings, you can sometimes make progress by expressing your disappointment or frustration and asking people if they share it.

Complexify contentious topics. There are more than two sides to every story.

Acknowledging competing claims and conflicting results doesn’t sacrifice interest or credibility.

Expand your emotional range. You don’t have to eliminate frustration or even indignation to have a productive conversation. You just need to mix in a broader set of emotions along with them you.

Best practices suggest that the ideal routines are already in place.

Abandon best practices.

Establish psychological safety. In learning cultures, people feel confident that they can question and challenge the status quo without being punished.

Don’t evaluate decisions based only on the results; track how thoroughly different options are considered in the process.

Planning just one step ahead can keep you open to rethinking.

Rethink your actions, not just your surroundings.

Schedule a life checkup. It’s easy to get caught in escalation of commitment to an unfulfilling path.

I’m scheduling a weekly time for rethinking and unlearning. I reach out to my challenge network and ask what ideas and opinions they think I should be reconsidering.


Thanks for reading. Did you like the content you just read? You can help me spread these ideas by sharing this blog post through your social media channels or sending it as a direct message to your friends.