Good decisions aren’t the ones that always confirm what you already believe to be true. A good decision is what’s objectively best for you and your company.
The most important skill people can have is to explore different points of view and different possibilities. Yet if you ask people whether they are open-minded, they almost always will assert that they are.
- Close-minded people won’t allow their ideas to be challenged. Open-minded people are comfortable when people disagree with their point of view.
- Close-minded people are more likely to make definitive statements rather than ask questions. Open-minded people really do believe they could be wrong.
- Close-minded people care more about being understood than about understanding others. Open-minded people always have the default position to seek understanding through other people’s eyes.
- Close-minded people lack humility. Open-minded people approach everything from the possibility that they may be wrong.
The first step, according to Dalio, is to recognize these traits in yourself and be aware when you’re operating from a close-minded position. Then you can actively shift to the open-minded option.
One way to continually shift to the position of being open-minded is to surround yourself with people who default to these positions.
The second step is to reframe disagreements from being threats – which our primitive brain will automatically do – to opportunities to learn:
People who change their minds because they learned something are winners, whereas those who stubbornly refuse to learn are the losers…. You should hold your mind while moving fluidly toward whatever is likely to be true based on what you learn.
Sincerely believe that you might not know the best possible path.
Recognize that decision making is a two-step process: First, take in all the relevant information, then decide.
Remember that you’re looking for the best answer, not simply the best answer that you can come up with yourself.
This is key to ensuring that your ego doesn’t get too caught up in the process of making decisions. You don’t need to be the one coming up with the path forward. It’s more important to make the right decision even if the alternative comes from someone else.