No. 509 – January 29th, 2023
Timeless ideas and insights for life.
The difference between open and closed-minded people:
Over time, the person who approaches life with an openness to being wrong and a willingness to learn outperforms the person who doesn’t.
“One sign that determination matters more than talent: there are lots of talented people who never achieve anything, but not that many determined people who don’t.”
— Paul Graham
The Three Types of Listening:
“Listening to win is, ‘Let me make the problem go away by telling you, you don’t have a problem.’ Listening to learn is getting underneath what’s being said and reflecting back to the person. And listening to fix is, ‘Let me take your problem and solve it for you, or help you solve it.'”
A new episode of The Knowledge Project Podcast is now available, featuring a conversation with Carolyn Coughlin. This episode is filled with practical insights on improving your relationships by becoming a better listener. Listen or read the transcript.
Reacting without reasoning makes every situation worse. Whether big or small, these unforced errors consume significant time and energy to get you back to where you were before.
Consider a common scenario that I’ve seen countless times. A co-worker slights a project you’re leading in a meeting. Instinctively you hit back with a comment that undermines them or their work. You didn’t make a conscious choice to reply; you just did. Before you even know what’s happening, the damage is done. Not only does the relationship suffer, but the meeting goes sideways. Too much of your energy gets consumed just getting you back to where you were. The relationship needs to be repaired. The derailed meeting needs to be rescheduled. You might need to talk to the other people in the meeting to clear the air. And even after all of this, you might still be worse off than you were before. Every witness and every person they talked to about what happened received an unconscious signal that eroded their trust in you. Building that trust back will take months of consistent behavior.
All the time and energy you spend fixing your unforced errors comes at the expense of moving toward the outcomes you want. There is a huge advantage to be gained by having more of your energy go toward achieving your goals.
The Key to Success:
“The paradoxical union of intellectual humility and ambition is something that every student can … and should cultivate. It’s what makes learning possible.”
“Sleepovers provide an experience, like trick-or-treating, when the power balance between grown-ups and children can shift in the latter’s favor for the simple reason that parents don’t have the stamina to keep up with (or even stay awake for) kids’ antics. Feeling powerful can be energizing and, well, empowering. But an even more potent benefit is the chance to learn deeply from other families. I found it incredibly exciting to be a voyeur in another family’s home. Some families ran a tight ship; others had dishes piled high in the sink. Some parents were fun to talk with; others scared me witless. Some families seemed to be thriving; others were just hanging on. Seeing these differences helped me reflect on my own place in the world.”
P.S. I dare you not to smile.