On Season 4, Episode 39 of Unleashed, Adam Grant shares insights into the power of re-thinking, how to stay curious, and becoming a lifelong learner.  

Actions You Can Take Right Now

  1. Define your identity in terms of values, not opinions. Be clear on who you are, what’s important to you, and spend less time on what you believe to be true. 
  2. Embrace the joy of being wrong. It’s an opportunity to learn. 
  3. Don't agree to disagree. When someone suggests this to you, it’s a sign that you’ve lost them. Strive for a more thoughtful conversation – argue to learn instead of to win – it's a game changer.   
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Episode Highlights and Excerpts

  • We’re supposed to approach our decisions & judgements objectively, but we don’t because we’re locked into a world filled with social and other biases. Too many of us rationalize instead of being rational, and most of us fall into one of three modes: 
    1. Preacher – we proselytize, or state our opinions as facts 
    2. Politician – we don’t listen 
    3. Prosecutor – we attack other people’s views 
  • We all have emotional triggers – based on our personal values – that can create pull one us into one of these modes more than others.
  • When conviction is grounded in logic and strong evidence it can be a good thing. But hold onto humility and a little bit of doubt alongside your conviction. Always be willing to accept that your strongly held views are wrong.
  • Find subject matter experts to lean on for science-based logic, but make sure to keep them in their sandbox, or area of expertise. When driven to find the truth there are times when we must decide what we are responsible for, and what to leave to other experts. We don’t have to be drawn into every debate.
  • We can’t force people to change their mind or behavior. But we can help them find their own reasons for changing if we take a curiosity-based approach with lots of open-ended questions. This is called Motivational Interviewing
  • Look at opposing views (and people!) as interesting specimens. Take a scientific approach to understanding how they form their opinions and beliefs, and what exactly they do believe. The farther apart you are on beliefs – the more you can learn. Be curious.
  • If you have to admit that a belief you hold is wrong, it can challenge your intelligence. It can also threaten your sense of belonging if it sets you apart from your “tribe”.
  • Complete novices are rarely over-confident. It’s people who have just a little knowledge who can come across as overly confident, perhaps due to social pressures. The antidote is to remain confidently humble. Stay grounded and know that you’re fallible. Be comfortable enough in your knowledge to admit what you don’t know. 
  • We nurture humility by surrounding ourselves with people who are more knowledgeable and capable than we are.
  • Organizations can often underestimate people who think like a scientist because they come across as more tentative or questioning of their own competence. The best forecasters are those who constantly change their mind.
  • As a leader communicate to others around you that you are open to changing your mind. In fact, tell your teams that if you are making a mistake it’s their responsibility to let you know.
  • If you want to learn more, and to remember more of what you have learned, teach it to someone else. 
  • Helping others does not mean you have to shoulder the burden of their request. The best way to help others is to enable them. Set them on the right path but let them do their own heavy lifting.   

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Adam Grant

Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist and TED speaker who has been recognized as one of the world's 10 most influential management thinkers, and Fortune's 40 under 40.

He is the #1 New Your Times bestselling author of 5 books that have sold millions of copies and have been translated into 35 languages: Think Again, Give and Take, Originals, Option B, and Power Moves. His books have been names among the year's best by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal.