As said by Ralph Waldo Emerson, man is what he thinks all day long. And to be a better version of yourself you need to broaden your thinking. The path to wisdom begins with you knowing what you don’t know — and having an open mind to entertain a thought without jumping to conclusions.
Being broad-minded means having the willingness to consider different opinions and beliefs. But we are hard-wired into seeking out information that confirms our preconceived notions. Confirmation bias stops us from entertaining thoughts that don’t conform with our existing beliefs. There is no way to remove the bias completely as it is a natural tendency.
To overcome confirmation bias one needs to acknowledge the bias. And should never let our ideas become our ideologies. We should stay curious and lead with questions. In the book Think Again by Adam M. Grant he says “A hallmark of wisdom is knowing when it’s time to abandon some of your most treasured tools — and some of the most cherished parts of your identity.” Avoid making your ideas your identity.
Subconsciously we latch on to the first piece of information we hear or read. Anchoring bias makes us conceive our notions based on the anchoring information. We can’t completely avoid it as this bias also happens under the surface of our consciousness. We should actively question our beliefs and should take an extra minute to think through them.
For survival reasons, we are wired to have a herd mentality and be among groups. Often times our thoughts are influenced by the groups we are in. As said by Ralph Charell, we should do our own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece. Being aware of our propensity to be influenced by people around us is a great start to independent thinking.
The journey towards broad-mindedness and wisdom starts with being curious.
“Curiosity is the beginning of all wisdom.” — Françoise Sagan
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