You really don’t know what you think you know

Think Again, by Adam Grant is a book about unlearning what you know. And realizing you really don’t know what you think you know.

One insight I found especially intriguing is the more confident people are, the less they actually know. Think of the person at the sporting event who is telling you what the coach should be doing to win the game. Confidence > Competence.

On the other side of that is imposter syndrome – Competence > Confidence. Imposter syndrome happens when you doubt your abilities for no reason.

The book reveals how arguing won’t change peoples minds, but asking calm questions can convince even the most stubborn people.

Here’s an example: A mother who who choose not to vaccinate her child for the measles. Doctors, friends and family warned her about risk, touted benefits and questioned her decision. The mother felt as though she was being told she was a bad mother if she didn’t get her kids vaccinated.

One doctor mentioned he was afraid of what might happen if her baby got the measles, but respected her decision. He continued to ask open questions about how she had reached the decision not to vaccinate and acknowledge that the world is full of confusing information about safety.

At the end of their conversation, he reminded her that she was free to choose whether or not to immunize and he trusted her ability and intentions. The turning point for her when the doctor told her that he respected her decision, whether she chose to vaccine or not.

She ended up vaccinating her child.

The book inspires you to challenge what you think you know.

One person realized everyone in their LinkedIn network was just like them (white, 40 year old mom, entrepreneur, living in the US). That meant her network was reinforcing her beliefs instead of challenging them.

That was interesting to me and I think I am in the same boat. People in my network are very similar to me. What do I learn from them? Plenty.

But am I learning new things? Or strengthening what I already believe?

Here’s a great quote I think applies to recent to many things: “Once we hear the story and accept it as true, we rarely bother to question it.”

I feel like too many think this way. How many time have you heard something like “my friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s mom heard…” and then don’t question the story.

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