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Weekly 3: Having a malleable mind


Idea Journal Weekly 3

October 6 · Issue #107 · View online

We combine 3 ideas to help you think differently and be more creative.

Summary: Seek out dissent. Focus on growth. Understand what changes a mind. (~4 min read)

#1. “Try to change your mind about one thing every day”
In an interview with author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, professional poker player Annie Duke says that when you’re trying to find out what’s true about some issue, it helps to seek out dissenting ideas and opinions.
People who can honestly and productively disagree with you are allies in your search for the truth.
For Duke, this is especially true with strongly-held views: “The fact is that when two extreme opinions meet, the truth lies generally somewhere in the middle.” 
Without exposure to the other side, you will naturally drift toward one extreme and away from the truth. 
What holds many people back from this approach is the fear of being wrong. But as Duke puts it, instead of being fearful, you should feel good about truly hearing those who disagree with you. 
After all, “being wrong is just an opportunity to find more of the truth.”
#2. Changing your mind can change your life
Entrepreneur Derek Sivers writes on his blog that one of the most important concepts he’s learned is the difference between a “fixed mindset" and a “growth mindset.“
The terms come from the work of psychologist Carol Dweck, and separately through the writings of professional chess player Josh Waitzkin.
For Sivers, the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset is similar to the difference between nature versus nurture:
“People in a fixed mindset believe you either are or aren’t good at something, based on your inherent nature, because it’s just who you are. People in a growth mindset believe anyone can be good at anything, because your abilities are entirely due to your actions.”
But as Sivers points out, having one mindset or the other can influence on your entire life. 
Here are some examples: 
With a fixed mindset, you stick with what you know to maintain your confidence. With a growth mindset, you maintain your confidence by constantly pursuing the unfamiliar, to ensure that you’re always learning.
With a fixed mindset, you want to hide your flaws so that you’re not considered a failure. With a growth mindset, your flaws are simply things to improve.
With a fixed mindset, the outcome is what matters most – if you fail, you think the effort was wasted. With a growth mindset, the process is what’s most important, and the outcome matters less.
With a fixed mindset, you believe that if you’re romantically compatible with someone, then you should share all of the same views and everything should just come naturally. With a growth mindset, you believe that a lasting relationship comes from effort and working through inevitable differences.
#3. What changes one mind may not change another
Author and marketing guru Seth Godin writes on his blog that other people don’t necessarily believe what you believe. They may not see what you see.
If you want to change someone’s mind, it’s important to understand what they currently believe, and what it might take to make such a shift.
Here are some examples:
If you want to change the mind of the audience, put more emotion into your story. 
If you want to change the mind of a banker, eliminate risk.
If you want to change the mind of a believer, bring in the perceived authorities.
If you want to change the mind of a bureaucrat, bring more power.
If you want to change the mind of a hustler, show the money.
If you want to change the minds of the nerds, build something new.
If you want to change the mind of a scientist, do more and better science and prove your assertions.
If you want to change the mind of a sports fan, win the game.
If you want to change the mind of a teenager, amplify the other teenagers.
Quote of the Week
“The mind is just as malleable as the body. We spend so much time and effort trying to change the external world, other people, and our own bodies, all the while accepting ourselves the way we were programmed in our youths. We accept the voice that talks to us in our head all the time as the source of all truth. But all of it is malleable, every day is new, and memory and identity are burdens from the past that prevent us from living freely in the present.”
- Entrepreneur and investor Naval Ravikant in an interview, captured in the book Tribe of Mentors
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