If you have the mental flexibility to change your mind in the face of new information, use it in innovative ways and solve challenging problems with it, you are smart.
Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence and a practice you should do regularly. However, there are those who think that doing so reveals a lack of conviction and even character. They believe that the important thing is to protect their pride and not humiliate themselves to admit their mistakes.
Experts in the field of human intelligence and creativity suggest that when you wake up in the morning you should ask yourself what idea, approach or belief you will change today. They claim that doing so is an exercise in mental flexibility that allows you to gain wisdom, cognitive clarity and happiness.
The flow of life requires change and movement, just like your mind. Therefore, if you don’t allow yourself to change any of your opinions from time to time, you will start believing things that are not true. You will also not be able to overcome uncertainty and correct your mistakes. Also, it will be quite difficult for you to live together.
Intelligence goes far beyond being a genius in quantum physics or having two PhDs in mathematics. A brilliant mind is a flexible mind.
Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence
There are few things easier than advocating for the same ideas shared by your friends, partner, colleagues and family. Having the same beliefs, ideologies and attitudes as your reference group gives you satisfaction and harmony. But what happens when you suddenly disagree with others and defend your own opposing view?
What happens is that those around you feel challenged. They ask when you started thinking like this and why you suddenly have such different views. They claim that someone must have brainwashed you. Because changing your mind is something that not everyone understands or respects. In fact, they often find it contradictory.
They prefer you with your established, focused opinions in your usual predictable approaches, consistent with what others think. Still, just because you advocate for an idea you’ve previously rejected doesn’t mean you’re fake, sold out or less honest. In fact, being open to other approaches and seeing the benefit of them is an inevitable sign of wisdom.
Good leaders know the importance of changing their minds
As we’ve noted before, changing your mind is a sign of intelligence, but many feel that doing so undermines their authority. This is exactly what Harvard Business School experts Martha Jeong, Leslie K. John, Francesca Gino and Laura Huang discovered. In their research study, they discovered that many leaders and entrepreneurs are reluctant to change their focus or reject their ideas.
They seem to believe that giving up their truth or admitting mistakes is an act of fallibility. Indeed, for some, standing firm in their initial position is a show of strength and conviction. However, true leaders and highly successful people know that braggarts don’t get very far. Only those who allow themselves to be flexible and change their perspective from time to time reveal the real brilliance.
Sometimes you have to change your approach to be right.
Suddenly discovering that something you previously accepted as the way it was can be painful. It can affect your ego, your morality, your self-esteem and even your identity. The fact of seeing how new information contradicts what you had previously defended produces what is known as cognitive dissonance.
This term describes the dissonance you experience when your internal system of ideas, beliefs and attitudes clash. You know that changing your mind is a sign of intelligence because it allows you to discard useless ideas, but doing so is neither easy nor quick. The interesting thing is that you often resort to incredible intellectual juggling to get rid of this psychological disorder.
Here’s an example:
I like smoking, but I have been told that smoking causes cancer. It makes me uncomfortable to accept that, so I prefer to believe another idea. My grandfather smoked all his life and died at the age of 100. So it can’t be that bad.
There is flexibility beyond your beliefs
Miguel Servetus, Giordiano Bruno, Copernicus, Galileo Galilei… Our history is full of people who challenged the world at a time when new ideas were seen as an attack on the dogma of faith, since science and religion never got along very well. Indeed, even today there are many who stick to their beliefs in the same way that the Inquisition did with their faith.
Society cannot progress without open minds. However, even today there are many who fiercely defend their ideas without realizing that their ideas are built on sand.
Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence, but it also requires intellectual humility. This is not easy to do when you have been taught that your beliefs are what make you who you are and that you must defend them with your life.
Unfortunately, it is often forgotten that change facilitates progress, that truth lies in progress, and that to facilitate it, old ideas must be discarded to adopt better arguments and new perspectives. Keep this in mind. Ask yourself which of your ideas or beliefs is worth changing today.