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The Art of Reconsideration

With information flooding us daily, the ability to change our minds when we receive new information or perspectives is crucial. Yet, many of us struggle with this, clinging to our existing beliefs and rationalizing them, even when they no longer serve us well.  In other words, we dig our heels in and continue to defend our positions, although the new information may contradict them.  It’s an interesting phenomenon, deeply rooted in human psychology, and in technical terms is called cognitive biases and the discomfort of cognitive dissonance.


We have an inherent need for cognitive consistency. In other words, we prefer our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors to align and when they do not, we experience discomfort, known as cognitive dissonance. When we receive information contradictory to our beliefs, we become uncomfortable, and our natural inclination is to reduce this discomfort.  This usually leads to us looking for more information that supports our existing views so that we can dismiss or rationalize away contradictory evidence.  Sound familiar?! 😊


This gives us a (false) sense of stability and confidence, but it can also lead to significant downsides. Closed-mindedness can stifle personal growth and innovation, preventing us from learning new things and adapting to changes. This can translate to missed opportunities, stagnation, and wasted resources spent defending obsolete positions in a professional setting. It can also hold teams and organizations back as they will be slower to (or do not) adapt to new information and trends, causing them to fall behind their competition.  This resistance to change can also strain relationships, both personal and professional. Constructive dialogue and effective collaboration often require flexibility and openness to different perspectives. When individuals or groups are entrenched in their views, reaching compromises or developing creative solutions to problems becomes challenging.


Navigating these challenges requires striking a balance between staying true to our core beliefs and being open to new information. Embracing curiosity is a crucial first step. By fostering a habit of asking questions and seeking to understand different viewpoints, we open the door to learning and growth. This doesn’t mean we need to agree with everything we encounter, but maintaining a curious mindset helps us remain receptive to new ideas.


Acknowledging that we don’t have all the answers and that being wrong is a natural part of the learning process can make it easier to accept new information and change our minds when necessary. This mindset encourages open discussions where differing opinions are respected and can help reduce the defensiveness that often accompanies challenges to our beliefs.  Regular reflection on our beliefs and decisions can further support this balance. Taking time to ask ourselves if our views still hold considering new information and experiences can help keep us grounded and adaptable and can strengthen our professional and personal relationships.


Although the tendency to defend our existing beliefs is a natural human trait, it’s time to recognize the trait and embrace a mindset that values adaptability, growth, and learning. By embracing curiosity, practicing humility, and creating environments that encourage open dialogue, we can navigate the complexities of changing our minds and make better-informed decisions in our personal and professional lives. This balanced approach not only enhances our individual growth but also contributes to the success and adaptability of our teams and communities.


A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will.” – Icelandic Proverb


I encourage you to take the first step towards embracing a growth mindset. Reflect on a recent belief or decision and consider how new information might influence your perspective. Share your thoughts in the comments below and join the conversation about the power of open-mindedness. Let’s learn and grow together!


Have a great weekend.