Think Again: The power of knowing what you dont know

  • Intro
  • Intelligence is viewed as the ability to think and learn , but in a turbulent world, what matters more- the ability to rethink and unlearn
  • first instinct fallacy-those who do rethink their first answer rather than staying anchored to them end up improving their decisions
  • We are mental misers- we often hang to our old beliefs. Questioning ourselves makes the world more unpredictable.
  • seizing and freezing-we favour the comfort of conviction over discomfort of doubt. r Once we hear a story and accept it as true , we rarely bother to question it.
  • under acute stress , people revert to their automatic, well learned response.
  • our ways to thinking become habits that can weigh us down , and we dont bother to question them until it is too late.
  • Let go of knowledge and opinions that are not serving you well , and to anchor yourself in sense of flexibility rather than consistency. Generate new solutions to old problems and revisit old solutions to new problems
  • Individual rethinking
  • When it comes to our knowledge and opinions , we often favour feeling right over being right
  • we go to preacher mode-when our sacred belief are in jeopardy; we deliver sermons to protect and promote our ideals.
  • we enter prosecutor mode- when we recognize flaws in others people reasoning : we marshal arguments to prove them wrong and wi our case
  • we shift to political mode- when we are seeking to win over an audience.
  • The risk is we become so wrapped in preaching that we are right ,prosecuting others who are wrong and politicking support that we dont bother to rethink our own views.
  • Get into scientific mode- when we are searching for the truth; you doubt what you know, be curious about what you dont know and update your views based on new data. Search for reason why we might be wrong and revisit views based on what we learn.
  • Mental horsepower doesnt guarantee mental dexterity. No matter how much brain power you have , if you lack motivation to change , you will missout on many things.
  • confirmation bias- seeing what we expect to see
  • desirability bias-seeing what we want to see
  • “I am not biased” bias- people believe they are more objective than others. The brighter you are, the harder it is to see your own limitation . Being good at thinking makes you worse at rethinking.
  • have cognitive flexibility- to move from one extreme to other as the occasion requires.
  • Rethinking — It starts with intellectual humility-knowing what we don’t know. Recognizing our shortcoming opens the door to doubt. As we question our current understanding, we become curious about what information we are missing, which leads to more discoveries and reinforces us to learn more.If knowledge is power , knowing what we dont know is wisdom.
  • scientific thinking favours humility over pride, doubt over certainty,curiosity over closure
  • pride brings conviction rather than doubt . which makes us prosecutors : we might be laser focused on changing others people mind , but ours is set in stone
  • We fall victim to fat cat syndrome- resting on laurels instead of pressure testing our beliefs.
  • our convictions can lock us in prisons of our own making. The solution is not to decelerate our thinking — it is to accelerate our rethinking.The curse of knowledge closes our mind to what we dont know. Good judgements depends on skill and will to open our minds
  • visions of change are more compelling when they include vision of continuity.
  • we all have blind spot in knowledge- accept it, embrac it -learn to see more clearly and update your views.
  • armchair quarterback syndrome- where confidence exceeds competence
  • imposter syndrome-where competence exceeds confidence.
  • dunning kruger effect- As we gain experience we lose our humility , we take pride in rapid progress , which promotes false sense of mastery . That jumps starts overconfidence cycle ,prevent us from doubting what we know & curious about what we dont know .When we lack competence we are most likely to be brimming with confidence.The less intelligent we are in a particular domain-the more we seem to overestimate our actual intelligence in that domain. The 1st rule of dunning kruger club is you dont know you are member of dunning kruger club.
  • Feigned knowledge- where people tend to know things that they dont.
  • fragile egos-we are driven to deny our weakness when we want to see ourselves in positive light or paint a glowing picture of ourselves to others.
  • Arrogance= humility + conviction
  • Humility is often misunderstood . People thinks it is low self confidence. It is about being grounded — recognize that we are flawed and fallible.
  • confidence humility- having faith in our capability while appreciating that we may not have right solution. This allows us to reexamine out old knowledge and confidence to persue new insights.
  • confidence sweet spot
  • The first upside of feeling like an imposter is that it can motivate us to work harder. It is not helpful when we are deciding whether to start a race , but once we have stepped up in starting line , it gives us drive to keep running till end
  • imposter thought can motivate us to work smarter, when we dont believe we are going to win, we have nothing to lose by rethinking our strategy
  • imposter thought can make us better learner . Learning requires the humility to realize one has something to learn.
  • Uncertainty primes us to ask questions and absorb new ideas. It protects us against Dunning -kruger effects.
  • Great thinkers dont harbour doubt because they are imposter. They dont boast about how much they know; they marvel at how little they understand. Each answer raises new questions and quest for knowledge is never finished.
  • When idea survives it is not because they are true — it is because they are interesting . What makes idea interesting is that it challenges weakly held opinions.
  • totalitarian ego- it steps like a body guard for our minds, protecting our self image by feeding comfortable lies. Its job is to keep out threatening information.Our inner dictator takes charge when our deeply held opinions are threatened.
  • Inner dictator- activates an overconfidence cycle. first our wrong opinion are shielded in filter bubbles ,we see what we want to seen and then beliefs are sealed in echo chambers-we hear only from people who validates it.
  • To unlock the joy of being wrong, we need to detach: detaching your present from past and detaching your opinions from identity.
  • our ideas ,beliefs can become problem when it prevents us from changing our mind as world changes and knowledge evolves.
  • If being wrong repeatedly leads us to the right answer , the experience of being wrong can become joyful.
  • Consider all your opinions tentative. When facts change, change opinions.
  • Instead of beating ourselves up about our mistakes , we can turn past misconception into source of present amusement.
  • Experiments show that simply framing a dispute as a debate rather than as a disagreement signals that you are receptive to considering dissenting opinions and changing your mind , motivates other person to share more information with you.
  • interpersonal rethinking
  • In negotiation agreeing with someone is disarming . To get in harmony , we need to step back from time to time.
  • when negotiators bring humility and curiosity, it improves outcome of both parties, as it leads to adapt to a different perspective.
  • We won’t have much luck changing others people mind if we refuse to change ours.
  • When we concede that someone else has made a good point , we signal that we are not preachers,prosecutors or politicians trying to advance an agenda. We are scientist trying to get to the truth.
  • While debating- making too many points come at the cost of developing,elaborating and reinforcing the best ones. “If you have too many arguments, you will dilute the power of each and everyone”.
  • The more the topic matters to them, the more the quality of reasons matters.
  • 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 real sense of ownership over them.
  • In argument — when someone is losing control, your tranquility is sign of strength. Treat argument as dance, you always have option to sidestep.
  • stereotypes are sticky — we tend to interact with people who share them , which makes them even more extreme. This phenomenon is group polarization.
  • Dismantling stereotypes and decreasing prejudice rarely happen overnight. A way out is — counterfactual thinking . It involves imagining how circumstances of life could have unfolded differently. Different stereotypes helps us update our view quickly.
  • People gain humility when they reflect on how different circumstances could have led them to different beliefs. Many of our beliefs are widely shared but rarely questioned
  • Stereotypes are more like a tower without key support . To knock it over, we all have to do is to give a poke.
  • We can rarely motivate someone to change . We are better off helping them find their own motivation to change.
  • The goal is not to tell people what to do, it is to help them breakthrough overconfidence cycle and see new possibilities.
  • The process of motivational interviews involves
  1. asking open ended questions
  2. engaging in reflective listening
  3. affirming the persons desirability and ability to change.
  • difference between sustain talk and self talk- sustain talk is about maintaining the status quo and change talk is desire, ability, need to make adjustments.
  • Great listeners are more interested in making their audience feel smart. They help people approach their own views with more humility,doubt and curiosity.If you present information without permission- nobody will listen you.
  • collective rethinking
  • Instead of describing issue as black and white , frame issue with shades of gray, representing a no of different views.
  • Binary bias- human tendency to seek clarity by simplifying complex continuum in 2 categories. Antidote is showcasing range of perspective on a given topic.
  • desirability bias- our beliefs are shaped by our motivations . What we believe depends on what we want to believe.
  • People likely to promote diversity and inclusion when the message is more nuanced and more accurat
  • Instead of drawing conclusion about people based on minimal clues, test their hypothesis by striking up conversation.
  • To check information, guidelines are
  1. interrogate information instead of consuming it.
  2. reject rank and popularity as proxy of reliability
  3. understand that sender of information is not its source
  • Everytime you tackle a new topic, have an opportunity to rethink its existing views on it.
  • Learn to teach, learn by doing and learn by thought experiment.
  • Mastering your craft means constantly revisiting your thinking.
  • Identify problems, develop hypotheses and design experiments to test.
  • Quality means rethinking, reworking and polishing.
  • To build a learning culture, we need to create a specific kind of accountability- one that leads people to think again about the best practice.
  • A bad decision process is based on shallow thinking. A good process is grounded in deep thinking and rethinking , enabling people to form and express independent opinions.
  • Even if the outcome of the decision is positive,it doesn’t qualify as success. If the process was shallow, you were lucky. I the decision process was deep , you an count it as an improvement.
  • happiness
  1. more people value happiness- the less happy they often become with their lives.
  2. we spend too much time striving for peak happiness , overlooking the fact that happiness depends more on frequency of positive outcome than intensity.
  3. when we hunt for happiness, we overemphasize pleasure at expense of purpose.
  4. our happiness depends more on what we do than where we are. It is our actions -not our surroundings -that brings us meaning and belonging.
  • conclusion
  • Think like scientist-resist temptation to preach,prosecute and politick.
  • seek information that goes agains your views.
  • dont confuse confidence with competence- dunning kruger effect.
  • harness the benefit of doubt- reframe the situation as an opportunity for growth.
  • embrace the joy of being wrong-laugh at your mistake
  • build a challenge network, not just a support network
  • learn something new from each person you mee
  • practice the art of persuasive listening
  • Ask how people originally formed an opinion
  • acknowledge common ground
  • Remember that less is often more.
  • reinforce freedom of choice- respect people autonomy
  • If emotions are running hot- try redirecting the discussion to the process
  • expand your emotional rage-dont shy away from warnings.
  • establish psychological safety-Psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes
  • focus on process than outcomes
  • throw out 10 year plan than 1–2 year plan.
  • build a sense of purpose by cultivating rethinking and unlearning

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