I have seen the above image in many leadership development engagements and there are many videos used to buttress the fact that people can see different things, take different positions, and yet still be both right and wrong.
Depending on where you stand and how you think, what is seen above can be the number six or nine; it can also be the small letter bee or gee.
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen Covey
In the above quote lies one of the most difficult responsibilities of humankind.
To truly understand, you must first realise that it is possible that you are wrong. This is the central theme of science, it is a structured way of confirming doubts, not beliefs. At its core, it seeks first to understand all that is, questions inconsistencies, raises doubts, confirms doubts and then starts the cycle again.
How many times have we argued a position with extreme conviction and later found out that we were wrong? For me, many times, and interestingly, it has not reduced my conviction in future arguments.
Why then are we critical of another that displays such conviction when they are obviously wrong? Because we have a brain that has mastered the art of self-preservation by toning down memories of poor judgment by self and tuning up memories of poor judgment by others.
In the same light, we more easily remember the hurt that was done to us, than the hurt we do to others.
There is a question one of my favorite uncles always asks – “When was the last time you changed your mind?” It is a question that ensures you stay open to being wrong, more often than you’re inclined to being right. The inclination to being right is the root of confirmation bias. We all seem to have figured out life in hindsight.
A lot can be made easier in living, when we consciously stop ourselves from getting sucked in to the stories that constantly fill our heads and just listen to the stories of others. Only then can we truly change our mind.
An ability to change your mind is directly proportional to growth.
– Osasu Oviawe