Maybe it is Time to…Think Again: Rethinking as a Way to Move Forward – (With appreciation to Adam grant, and Daniel Kahneman)

Last week, I spoke at the Garland Scottish Rite Club, at their service to install their officers for 2023.  My former colleague, Karl Krayer, was installed as their President for this year.Think Again

Karl asked me to speak on Rethinking as the Way to Move Forward.  I took some highlights from my synopsis handout for the book Think Again by Adam Grant, mixed in a little Daniel Kahneman, and Tyler Cowen via David Brooks, and created this handout.  It might be worth reading through.

So, here it is.


Maybe it is Time to…Think Again: Rethinking as a Way to Move Forward

Presented by Randy Mayeux — For The Garland Scottish Rite Club — January,18, 2023

{There is so much we do not know… And we are all wrong about some things. Our inability or unwillingness to seek out ways we are wrong will keep us wrong. And that is a bad idea. Rethinking – thinking again – is the only path to getting more things right.}

• We laugh at people who still use Windows 95, yet we still cling to opinions that we formed in 1995. 

  • How many of us can even remember the last time we admitted being wrong and revised our opinions accordingly? 
  • 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. 
  • If you’re a scientist by trade, rethinking is fundamental to your profession.
  • Being good at thinking can make you worse at rethinking.
  • “Arrogance is ignorance plus conviction.”
  • I found a Nobel Prize–winning scientist and two of the world’s top election forecasters. They aren’t just comfortable being wrong; they actually seem to be thrilled by it. …The goal is not to be wrong more often. It’s to recognize that we’re all wrong more often than we’d like to admit, and the more we deny it, the deeper the hole we dig for ourselves. 
  • As Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio told me, “If you don’t look back at yourself and think, ‘Wow, how stupid I was a year ago,’ then you must not have learned much in the last year.” 
  • When we’re trying to persuade people, we frequently take an adversarial approach. Instead of opening their minds, we effectively shut them down or rile them up. 
  • Intelligence is traditionally viewed as the ability to think and learn.
    Yet in a turbulent world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn.
  • We should all be able to make a long list of areas where we’re ignorant. Mine include art, financial markets, fashion, chemistry, food, why British accents turn American in songs, and why it’s impossible to tickle yourself.
  • Preachers, Prosecutors, and Politicians: We go into preacher mode when our sacred beliefs are in jeopardy: we deliver sermons to protect and promote our ideals. We enter prosecutor mode when we recognize flaws in other people’s reasoning: we marshal arguments to prove them wrong and win our case. We shift into politician mode when we’re seeking to win over an audience: we campaign and lobby for the approval of our constituents. The risk is that we become so wrapped up in preaching that we’re right, prosecuting others who are wrong, and politicking for support that we don’t bother to rethink our own views.

Adam Grant:  Think Again, The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

The economist Tyler Cowen suggests a thought experiment:

Take out a piece of paper. In one column, list all of the major problems this country faces—inequality, political polarization, social distrust, climate change, and so on. In another column, write seven words: “America has more talent than ever before.”

David Brooks:  Despite Everything You Think You Know, America Is on the Right Track (Yes, America is a wounded giant—but it always has been, and the case for optimism is surprisingly strong). – From The Atlantic, January 13, 2023

• Let’s think about thinking:

(From the synopsis handout of the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman; synopsis prepared by Dr. Karl Krayer):

System 1 vs. System 2 Thinking

System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control. — System 1 does fast thinking.

System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. — System 2 is slow thinking, and is effortful. 

Randy Mayeux’s lessons and takeaways from Think Again by Adam Grant:

#1 – Aim for more self-awareness.
#2 – Aim for more humility.
#3 – Seek to discover your own blindness – your own blind spots.

#4 – Stop and think; and then, often, stop and rethink.
#5 – Ask, always, what am I doing to keep learning.
#6 – And, because things are speeding up and the world is changing more rapidly than ever before, we all must learn to rethink, and learn, (and unlearn), faster than ever.


Click here to read my blog post on Think AgainThink Again by Adam Grant – Here are my six lessons and takeaways

And here is the handout in printable from.

Click pin image for full, printable view

Click pin image for full, printable view

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