Be Open Minded But Selective
Consume only information of interest. And regularly challenge what you think.
“The principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” ー Richard Feynman
How to be open minded is an open question.
Start with an understanding of confirmation bias. You naturally seek out support for what you believe and discard those things that challenge your current world-view. You must do exactly the opposite to learn and grow.
Challenge yourself as Charles Darwin once did...
"I had... during many years followed a golden rule, namely, that whenever a published fact, a new observation or thought came across me, which was opposed to my general results, to make a memorandum of it without fail and at once; for I had found by experience that such facts and thoughts were far more apt to escape from the memory than favorable ones. Owing to this habit, very few objections were raised against my views, which I had not at least noticed and attempted to answer."
One particularly useful tool for avoiding confirmation bias is counterfactual questions.
What is missing?
Is this really true?
Why am I not convinced?
Why do I feel such a strong attraction to this idea?
Be particularly wary of conventional wisdom. It is often groupthink dressed up as common practice against which no one thinks to raise a question. I say question it and every other idea you consume!
In a practical sense, mountains of junk exist out there masquerading as knowledge. Separating the wheat from the chaff can be difficult.
Be selective about the content you consume.
Be further selective about the notes you take.
Focus on things of genuine interest that challenge your thinking.
Avoid living within an echo chamber where boundaries of thought remain untested.
Don’t feel pressured to keep reading something if it longer holds your interest.
There is too much for one human to consume in many lifetimes. Don’t waste a single, precious second.
🤔 Food for Thought:
Do you challenge your thinking on a regular basis?
Are you being open minded but selective in what you consume?
Are you making note of interesting thoughts?
⚙️ One Small Step:
The next time you find something that confirms your current world-view, use counterfactual questions to challenge what you believe to be true. If you don't challenge yourself, someone else will at the most inopportune moment.