As the new year of 2017 is approaching very soon, I usually spend some time to decide what kind of skills I need to develop in the next year. To select a skill, I spent some time thinking. I like to select skills to give me the highest level of impact and return on my time. This is what I came up with for the new skill:
- Skill 1: Learning to be wrong
I usually search for facts that confirm my beliefs or at least my opinion. I thought that if you connect facts to tell a story to support your opinion that would be enough to convince people by what you believe. Lately, I started evaluating this kind of thinking. It appears this kind of thinking causes weakness and decreases the soundness of judgment. I decided to do a 180-degree turn to prove that I am wrong. This way of thinking is a better path for me to discover.
Although discovering being wrong created stress and humiliation, my mind opened more for new ideas. Finding that I am wrong, in fact, increased my ability to find what is right, sharpening my critical thinking. As a manager and supervisor, I developed the habit of asking people their opinion especially if it is totally against what I believe. I usually don’t tell them my opinion at the beginning because I don’t want to create thinking bias.
Discovering I am wrong though made me feel sad — since I have not been practicing this for a long time. After all, who wants to be wrong? It took me some time to come over my ego to change my belief system. This new kind of self-correcting mechanism made me practice critical judging. I became proactive in searching opposing topics. I noticed myself telling people “I would love to be wrong” more than before; I discovered that feeling detached from my emotions made it easier to be wrong.
- Skill 2: Learning more by developing assumptions
To develop an assumption or an opinion of a certain topic with
current information you know is a great way to deepen your understanding. By doing this, I would learn better (as Cal Newport and Scott Young mentioned in their writing). For example, when I go to a conference, I will predict which topics will be the main theme and where will be the focus of the conference. Adjusting my preconceptions, as it turned out, increased the depth of my learning.
- Skill 3: Selectivity in reading, watching, and listening to information
The media as well as human nature encourage us to be selective in believing things. Drinking from a firehose becomes the norm of being exposed to so much information. When we reach to this level of not being able to control our ability to gain knowledge and information, we need to start applying filters. The better the filter, the better the outcome of quality information. As such, I am going to be very selective in reading, watching, and listening.
This post is usually published on Saturday. I would love to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org). Happy Holidays and New Year!