The double-edged sword of “knowing” is that it gets in the way of learning.
As you gain experience in whatever field you’re in, you start to see patterns. Certain things seem to lead to other things. You generate more sales if you interact with customers in a certain way. Your employees perform better if you engage them in a certain way. These patterns cause you to form beliefs. Moving forward, those beliefs help you predict what’s likely to happen, and take steps to influence what you want to happen.
It makes sense.
However, there are two problems. First, you’re not operating in a static world. What worked well with yesterday’s customers and employees may not work so well today. Second, you start to tie your self-worth to knowing, to having the answers. As a result, you’re not as open to learning because you place your value in knowing.
Lease your beliefs, don’t own them. Leasing them means they’re subject to change. Owning them means you fight to defend them. Even when faced with contrary evidence.
How do you counteract the tendency to own your beliefs? Instead of jumping to conclusions, be curious. Ask questions like these:
- What other explanations might there be for what happened?
- What other factors might have contributed to the outcome?
- How is the current situation different from similar situations in the past?
- Do I truly understand why others see things differently?
In business as in biology, survival of the fittest is not based on the biggest or the strongest … but on the most adaptable. Adaptability is the key to survivability.
To adapt, you have to learn. To learn, you have to be open to learning. That’s why you should lease your beliefs, not own them.
Make it happen.
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