Destroy Your Ideas
It’s easy to get stuck on an idea. You begin by thinking about it just every now and then. Slowly, the idea strengthens as it begins to burn a pathway in your brain. Then you begin noticing how everything you see supports the idea. The idea gains even more traction in your mind. Next thing you know, you’re ignoring everything that doesn’t support the idea or even disproves it. By this time, it’s not just an idea that’s stuck, it’s your brain that’s stuck.
I see this all the time with leaders I work with. They fixate on an idea then lose their ability to adapt and change and notice that there are other ways to act that may lead to better results.
You’re probably thinking: “But my idea is absolutely amazing. Isn’t it a good thing that I stick steadfastly to it?” Perhaps you’re right and on your way to becoming the next Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos.
But perhaps you’re wrong and on your way to oblivion. Great leaders surround themselves with people smarter than themselves who have the strength to push back and offer alternatives for you to consider. And you must consider these alternatives, if only briefly. You must open your mind and push back on your idea to make sure you’re not missing something. Something that will lead you to modify your thinking or even take you in a completely different direction.
As Charlie Munger puts it: “Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.”
Pay attention to ideas from a variety of people, even those seemingly unlikely to be able to guide you. Sometimes the best ideas and the best questions come from those who know the least about something. Think about how often you get wonderful questions from little kids about something you always thought was common knowledge. Questions that make you realize common knowledge is often flawed…what is known by all is often incorrect. Perhaps it used to be correct but isn’t anymore.
Notice how your results improve as you loosen your brain and allow it to process other ideas, adapt or even completely trash your own worn out ones, and come up with something that moves you forward in new and exciting ways.