Pearls from my recent reading about The Book of Beautiful Questions by Warren Burger
What it simply means is to be humble enough to admit that you do not know something or be willing to recognize that what you believe or think might be wrong.
Though humility is often associated with meekness, Intellectual humility is actually a courageous act because one has to overcome their reflexive ways of thinking—their ego, their fears to embrace intellectual humility.
Here are 4 questions to test your Intellectual Humility.
1. DO I TEND TO THINK MORE LIKE A SOLDIER OR A SCOUT?
- A Soldier’s job is to defend, while a Scout’s purpose is to explore, seek out, understand, and discover.
- The mindset of a scout is rooted in curiosity. Staying in that mindset, you are more likely to feel intrigued vs defensive when you encounter something that contradicts your expectations
- As your self-worth as a person isn’t tied to how right or wrong you are about any particular topic, finding new information often becomes a source of joy.
2. WOULD I RATHER BE RIGHT OR WOULD I RATHER UNDERSTAND?
- If you place too much importance on being right, it can get you in ‘defense’ mode and close off learning and understand.
- Overcoming the urge to “be right” takes a conscious effort. You may need to learn how to feel proud instead of ashamed when you notice that you encounter some information that contradicts your beliefs.
- Another question to consider “What do you most yearn for—to defend your own beliefs or to see the world as clearly as you can?”
3. DO I SOLICIT AND SEEK OUT OPPOSING VIEWS?
- Don’t ask others if they agree with you- ask if they disagree and invite them to say why.
- Listen deeply, listen to understand, and not respond.
4. DO I ENJOY A “PLEASANT SURPRISE” OF DISCOVERING I AM MISTAKEN?
- Finding out you were wrong about something need not be cause for shame; it’s a sign of intellectual openness and growth.
- When you think your defensiveness is about to kick in, use this question like a mantra.