Over a morning coffee meeting last week a colleague and I were discussing how easily single-minded focus on a goal can blind you to the many ways to accomplish it, or even to possibly more relevant goals.
I mentioned this article to her and we both thought this excerpt was particularly interesting:
Nothing is definite
When asked what trait signified someone who was “wrong a lot” of the time, Fried says Bezos’ answer was “the tendency to be obsessed with details that only support one point of view. If someone can’t climb out of the details, and see the bigger picture from multiple angles, they’re often wrong most of the time.”
It’s important to note that Bezos isn’t implying that smart people are insecure about their decisions. He’s simply saying that they’re comfortable with being wrong, which then allows them to analyze new data, be open to new opinions and revisit long-standing positions.
As psychologist Mel Schwartz writes, “One of the most prevalent — and damaging — themes in our culture is the need to be right. It is so deeply embedded in our belief system and in our collective psyche that we never even pause to consider it.”