It is common practice to define intelligence as the capacity to think and acquire new knowledge. However, in a constantly evolving world, there is another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the capacity to rethink and unlearn.
In our day-to-day lives, far too many prioritize the ease of our convictions over the difficulty of our uncertainties. Instead of concepts that force us to put a lot of thought into what we should be doing, we listen to viewpoints that make us feel good.
Think Again by Adam Grant [Download pdf Below]
We view differences of opinion as challenges to our self-esteem rather than educational opportunities. We should be gravitating toward those who challenge our thought process, but instead, we tend to surround ourselves with those who agree with the conclusions we have reached.
Consequently, our ideas become fragile much before our skeletons do. We overthink, like preachers attempting to defend our sacred beliefs, prosecutors attempting to prove the other side wrong, and politicians campaigning for approval.
We think too little, like scientists attempting to discover the truth. Intelligence is not a treatment; in certain cases, it can even be a curse: if we are strong at thinking but not so good at rethinking, then we are in trouble. The more enlightened we are, the more likely we will fail to see our constraints.
Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, is an authority in expanding the minds of other people and our own. One of his guiding ideas is to argue like he’s right but listen like he’s wrong. He is a top-rated professor at Wharton and the best-selling author of Originals and Gives and Take.
Originals and Give and Take were both written by him. He studies how we might embrace the delight of being incorrect, offer complexity to contentious dialogues, and construct schools, workplaces, and communities of lifelong learners by using bold ideas and rigorous evidence.
You’ll learn how an international debate champion wins arguments, a Black musician convinces white supremacists to give up hate, and a vaccine whisperer convinces concerned parents to immunize their children.
Adam has convinced Yankees fans to root for the Red Sox. You’ll also learn how vaccine whisperers convince concerned parents to immunize their children. The book “Think Again” demonstrates that we do not have to accept everything that we feel or believe or believe all that we think.
It is an opportunity to let go of perspectives that no longer serve us well and value mental flexibility more than foolish consistency. If knowledge is power, then the ability to recognize what we do not know is the essence of wisdom.