06-14-23 blog image

Think Again – Challenging Our Beliefs, Opinions, and Thought Processes

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“You might have heard that if you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it’ll jump out right away. But if you put it in lukewarm water and then slowly heat it up, the frog won’t survive. The frog’s big problem is that it lacks the ability to rethink the situation. It doesn’t realize that the warm bath is becoming a death trap until it’s too late.”

In our latest book club discussion, we dove into the mind-expanding world of organizational psychologist Adam Grant’s latest masterpiece, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know. In “Think Again,” Grant challenges us to reassess our beliefs, opinions, and thought processes. The book unravels the faulty thinking patterns that hinder both personal and professional growth, prompting us to adopt a more agile mindset characterized by curiosity and humility. We had a lively discussion on the many facets of our lives that challenge us to think again, sharing anecdotes and challenges in both personal and professional lives and relationships. Grant helped us to embrace the joy of being wrong and learn to rethink our opinions and open ourselves up to new perspectives.

Think Like a Scientist

“If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.”

According to Grant, when we come to an idea, whether new or closely held, we should approach it as a scientist versus a preacher, prosecutor, or politician. That is, when we approach a problem or belief as a scientist, we come with curiosity and openness to learning something new, searching for reasons we may be wrong versus just reasons why we are right. When we approach a problem as a preacher, we are already convinced we are right and rely on persuasion methods to try to change other opinions. As a prosecutor, we focus on trying to provide why someone else’s theory, belief, or idea is wrong. Lastly, as a politician, we are seeking approval from the audience. Grant shows us that seeking out opposing views or new theories as a scientist helps us to form the strongest view of all. After all, if the world is constantly changing shouldn’t our ideas and beliefs be adapting too?

Our lively discussion on thinking like a scientist took an interesting turn toward childrearing. While we often want to preach or prosecute when approaching an argument with children, instead thinking like a scientist may be the best approach to teaching and guiding the next generation. While it’s hard to be a scientist when teaching a toddler the obvious rights from wrongs, many members of our book club did share that they have found challenges become more complex as children get older and the concept of being open to learning something new is definitely important. Not every child is the same, so while one method or approach may work for one, it may be necessary to find a different approach for another. And who knows, we may learn a thing or two from our kids!

Interpersonal and Collective Rethinking

Throughout our discussion, often we came back to the topic of childrearing and how Think Again made us really ponder the best approach to handling the next generation. Grant points out that as a society we are prone to asking children what they want to be or do when they grow up. Instead, he suggests that we should encourage children to try all different things and to keep an open mind about what their future holds. Does a six-year-old really need to create a single-track mindset for their potential career in 15+ years? Do they need to pick one single career at all? This led us to the topic of encouraging rethinking not just in yourself, but also from a very early age. Helping kids to celebrate creating more than one draft to get a higher quality output, instead of expecting a perfect result on the first round can encourage an openness to rethinking and reevaluating.
Another area we focused on discussing as a group was the forced rethinking as a society, we had to adapt to during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that maybe some of that rethinking was beneficial. The medical industry historically had fallen behind in terms of innovation, but within a month of COVID-19 shutting down our nonessential routines that all changed. Miraculously, doctors began offering telehealth visits to patients from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Almost every industry was affected during this time, and almost all were able to adapt and try new things to ensure patients received care, clients were helped, and businesses continued to run. While schools have since gone back to in person learning after testing a distanced approach, some of these changes have had a lasting impact, and we can more confidently say that learning in person is more beneficial to our kids. Hybrid and remote work environments have endured for some industries, we no longer need to drive 15 minutes each way to see a doctor for a sore throat, and most importantly we as a society are more open to putting our heads together and rethinking the way things historically have been done.

So, What Does This Have to Do with Money?

Everything, of course! While it may be easier to discuss rethinking in terms of childrearing, it is very applicable to financial advice. At Treehouse Wealth we’ve taken a strong belief that each client is unique. and that each portfolio is collaboratively crafted over time. As a team, we challenge each other to always be reading the latest research on portfolio construction, the psychology of money, and personality traits and financial preferences. We try not to get too attached to ideas and bogged down in our beliefs. Just like every other industry, the world of finance is changing, and we are thinking like scientists!

Remember the story of the frog? Well…

“It isn’t true. Tossed into the scalding pot, the frog will get burned badly and may or may not escape. The frog is actually better off in the slow boiling pot: it will leap out as soon as the water starts to get uncomfortably warm. It’s not the frogs who fail to reevaluate. It’s us. Once we hear the story and accept it as true, we rarely bother to question it.”


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