When was the last time you changed your mind? (Summary of "Think Again")
The more willing you are to change your mind (after careful reasoning, not peer pressure), the faster you will rise to the top of your field.
College students who reconsider their answers before handing in an exam and have more eraser marks on their exam score higher than students who do not rethink their first answer.
Many of us fail to “rethink” our beliefs and opinions because we get stuck in overconfidence cycles:
1. Form an opinion that feels right.
2. Seek information to support that opinion.
3. Feel validated.
4. Proudly express our opinions.
Overconfidence cycles strengthen every time we preach, prosecute, and politick.
When stuck in any of these three modes, feeling right becomes more important than being right, and we stop learning.
Overconfidence 1: Preaching when preaching our beliefs, we pretend to be 100% certain to be more persuasive. The more we preach, the more we believe our false sense of certainty and think our beliefs are bulletproof. The more someone preaches about a single type of investment, like Bitcoin, the more likely they are to dismiss concerning data that could make that investment vulnerable to an attack and lead to a catastrophic loss.
Overconfidence 2: Prosecuting when prosecuting someone’s belief, we rarely give that someone credit for a good idea. If someone is bashing Bitcoin and searching for reasons why Bitcoin is a bad investment to score points in a Twitter battle, they will discount pro‐Bitcoin facts and may miss an opportunity to diversify their portfolio and protect their savings.
Overconfidence 3: Politicking when we politick, we adopt people's beliefs because we want to be liked and accepted by them. Politicians adopt popular opinions to get votes and have little incentive to question those opinions.
Adam Grant says (paraphrased), "When we become so wrapped up in preaching that we're right, prosecuting others who are wrong, and politicking for support, we don't bother to rethink our own views and get trapped in an overconfidence cycle.”
To get ourselves out of an overconfidence cycle, we need to think like scientists.
When Adam Grant asked world‐renowned scientist Daniel Kahneman what he does when people find flaws in his research, Danny's eyes lit up, and he said, "It's wonderful, I get a chance to be less wrong!"
Great scientists see ideas and beliefs as hunches and hypotheses that need to be tested with data. When a scientist encounters data which casts doubt on a hypothesis, they see it as an opportunity to develop a better hypothesis and better understand reality.
"In scientist mode, we shift in the face of sharper logic and stronger data" – Adam Grant .
Start thinking like a scientist by actively seeking out disconfirming information and getting curious when you experience doubt.
When doubt turns to curiosity, you have an opportunity to discover new ideas and experience the joy of learning. By learning and improving upon your ideas, you gain confidence in your capacity to learn while remaining humble about what you didn't know and what you still don't know ‐ this is called confident humility.
Rethinking Cycle: Doubt -> Curiosity ->Discovery ->Confident Humility
One way to keep the rethinking cycle going is to update a note on your phone with two lists: “Things I don't know” and “Things I've learned recently.”