I started seeing quotes by Adam Grant a couple of months ago. I started looking forward to them because they were so thought provoking. Then a couple of weeks ago, my friend Billie, sent me a text about his book, Think Again, The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know. It reminded me of a workshop I took many years ago that talked about the four areas of knowledge:
Things you know.
Things you know you don't know.
Things you don't know that you know.
Things you don't know, that you don't know.
Brene' Brown's quote on the cover was inspiring: "I never felt so helpful about what I don't know." Financial Times encapsulates my approach that I had forgotten: "Think Again is a refreshing mandate for humble open-mindedness." Daniel Kahneman says, "Adam Grant believes that keeping an open mind is a teachable skill."
I've only begun reading this book and I feel so strongly about the message that I want to start sharing it with you. One particular passage has encapsulated how to approach knowledge: be a scientist.
"Scientific thinking favors humility over pride, doubt over certainty, curiosity over closure. When we shift out of scientist mode , the rethinking cycle breaks down, giving way to an overconfidence cycle. If we're preaching, we can't see gaps in our knowledge: we believe we've already found the truth. Pride breeds conviction rather than doubt, which makes us prosecutors: we might be laser-focused on changing other people's minds, but ours is set in stone. That launches into confirmation bias and desirability bias. We become politicians, ignoring or dismissing whatever doesn't win the favor of our constituents - our parents, our bosses, or the high school classmates we're still trying to impress. We get so busy putting on a show that the truth gets relegated to a backstage seat, and the resulting validation can make us arrogant."
Adam Grant goes on to talk about the role confidence and humility plays:
"Humility is about being grounded, or from the earth (Latin), that we're flawed and fallible. Confidence is a measure of how much you believe in yourself. 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."
He calls this Confident Humility. I have been thinking about how I approach my thinking and my judgement of others, as I impart my knowledge. This speaks to me in so many ways. One thing my mother modeled to me was to continue to learn new things. She constantly read and even in her later years took on technology, learning how to use a computer and, yes, Facebook! I try to remind myself that I can always learn something from someone, even in bad situations. Going to workshops, trainings and conferences, I looked for one thing I could take away.
Since I've just begun reading this book and I'm in the process of creating a workshop on Decision-Making, there will be more nuggets of information coming your way, so stay tuned!