People are doing wrong to me
people are doing wrong
Why is it that some people seem to make constant progress in their professional and personal lives, while others appear to be doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over?
While the answer isn’t cut and dry, I’ve noticed an interesting mindset difference between these two groups: they approach obstacles and challenges very differently. It comes down to mindset.
Successful people tend to approach life with an open mindset — an eagerness to learn and a willingness to be wrong. The other group digs their heels in at the first sign of disagreement and would rather die than be wrong.
It turns out, the way each group approaches obstacles defines much of what separates them.
Before you smugly slap an open-minded sticker on your chest, consider this: closed-minded people would never consider that they could actually be closed-minded. In fact, their perceived open-mindedness is what’s so dangerous.
These are tough questions to answer. Nobody wants to admit to themselves that they’re closed-minded. But the advantages of having that courage are massive. The ability to change your mind is a superpower.
The rate at which you learn and progress in the world depends on how willing you are to weigh the merit of new ideas, even if you don’t instinctively like them. Perhaps especially if you don’t like them.
What’s more, placing your trust and effort in the right mentor can propel you forward, just as placing it in the wrong person can send you back to the starting point.
So how can you tell what camp you’re in? How do you make sure you’re being influenced by the right group of people?
Closed-minded people are more interested in proving themselves right than in getting the best outcome. They don’t ask questions. They want to show you where you’re wrong without understanding where you’re coming from. They get angry when you ask them to explain something. They think people who ask questions are slowing them down. And they think you’re an idiot if you don’t agree.
In short, they’re on the wrong side of right.
Open-minded people see disagreement as a thoughtful means to expand their knowledge. They don’t get angry or upset at questions; rather, they want to identify where the disagreement lies so they can correct their misperceptions. They realize that being right means changing their minds when someone else knows something they don’t.
These are the people who sit in meetings and are more than willing to offer their opinions, but never ask other people to expand on or explain their ideas. Closed-minded people are thinking of how they would refute the other person’s thoughts, rather than trying to understand what they might be missing.
Open-minded people know that while they may have an opinion on a subject, it could count for less than someone else’s. Maybe they’re outside their circle of competence or maybe they’re experts. Regardless, they’re always curious as to how people see things differently and they weigh their opinions accordingly.
People’s default behaviors offer a quick tell. When you disagree with someone, what’s their reaction? If they’re quick to rephrase what they just said or, even worse, repeat it, then they are assuming that you don’t understand them, rather than that you are disagreeing with them.
When you disagree with an open-minded person, they are quick to assume that they might not understand something and to ask you to tell them where their understanding is incomplete.
Closed-minded people say things like “I could be wrong … but here’s my opinion.” This is a classic cue I hear all the time. It’s often a perfunctory gesture that allows people to hold their own opinion while convincing themselves that they are being open-minded. If your statement starts with “I could be wrong”…, you should probably follow it with a question and not an assertion.
Open-minded people know when to make statements and when to ask questions.
They don’t have time to rehash something already talked about. They don’t want to hear anyone’s voices but their own. (Dalio offers a “two-minute rule” to get around this: Everyone has the right to speak for two minutes without being interrupted.)
Open-minded people are always more interested in listening than in speaking.