Bigg success is life on your own terms. Our focus today is growth, one of the five elements of bigg success.
We tend to avoid information that’s not consistent with our beliefs. There’s been a long-running debate between psychologists:
Do people actively avoid contradictory information or is it a more natural process? For example, it may be that we don’t hear opposing views because we hang out with people like us.
Some new research [PDF] (led by a psychology professor at the best school in the world, the University of Illinois) has answered that question.
If you seek opposing views, you’re in the minority
The research confirms that people do avoid ideas that disagree with their own. They did this study to “see … to what extent people are willing to seek out the truth versus just stay comfortable with what they know.”
The researchers found that two-thirds of us choose information that supports what we already think. However, the more interesting part of their research to us was this:
They found that two types of people are more likely to listen to alternative points-of-view:
People who are confident in their own beliefs
We were out with a friend right after we read this research. The timing was perfect. She’s very politically active – politics is one area the researchers cited that we’re particularly reluctant to consider the other side.
Our friend told us that she no longer subscribed to a certain magazine. She said that she found she always disagreed with their point-of-view. After further discussion, it was clear that she’s not confident in her opinions.
If she had confidence in her opinions, it wouldn’t bother her to read the other side. In fact, by reading the other side, she might gain confidence in her positions. Or she might change her mind, but be more confident in her new opinion.
The best way to confirm your opinion is to continually test it against all the information available. Talk with people who hold counter opinions. Read everything you can. Try to balance opinions on all sides of an issue before arriving at a conclusion.
Even then, continue testing that opinion with any new evidence you find, both pro and con. Then you’ll have confidence in your opinions.
People who have to defend their ideas in public
It’s interesting that the researchers cite the much-maligned politicians here. Politicians constantly have to defend their point-of-view.
They serve as an example to us. Don’t keep your opinions to yourself; defend them.
We should point out two things here:
- You have to be careful discussing certain subjects with certain people.
- We’ve talked about things here in very black-and-white terms. Obviously, many if not most issues are full of grey. That’s what makes for interesting discussion!
When you do discuss your ideas, you will hear other points-of-view that you can synthesize with your own. Your ideas will sharpen and grow. So will your confidence in what you believe.
That’s bigg success … as long as you agree with us!
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Thanks for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we’ll discuss what we can learn from cats about communication. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!
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(Image in today's post by adzica)