A Common Sense Of The Ignorant Kind

What is the point of a debate? Some would say – to prove a point. Some would say for collective learning. Some would say a display of intellectual superiority. A lot of people would say to gain broad consensus.

Yes, a formal debate could achieve all of these objectives and create the stage for advancements in the human body of knowledge. However, it can also be used as a weapon to destroy communication altogether.

Quite often, we are all guilty of arguing without a strong grasp of the subject. Equally so, we are guilty of an undying habit of proving we are first among smart equals. We don’t remember though that, given the right incentives and motivation, humans are capable of creating magic. Hunger can be a very powerful motivator. It allows for a clear underdog to defeat a very superior enemy with alarming speed. So, dont ever underestimate your opponent.

Carol Dweck in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” argues that you can adopt one of two mindsets – a know it all and a learn it all. In the latter case, it’s the thirst for knowledge and an acknowledgement of ignorance fuel an insatiable desire for knowledge. This in turn kicks off a lifelong learning process. A short summary of positive traits to cultivate is listrd below:

  1. The importance of an OPEN MIND cannot be stressed enough. The most potent instrument of change and the seed of personal transformation.
  2. KNOW YOUR conscious and unconscious BIASES very well. Your biases including a Napoleon complex or a superiority complex are the biggest roadblock to personal growth.

3. FIND MENTORS in everyday people. It is quite surprising what you can learn from people of all ages. Children can teach you lifehacks and smarter ways of saying no without actually saying know. They can also teach you about incentives and motivation. Learn something from everyone.

4. Be conscious that EVERYONE HAS BLINDSIDES - things they cannot believe, understand and comprehend because they are a creature of their environment.

5. Wisdom is common sense filtered through experience and enabled by an open mind. A Copernican heliocentric belief system took time to alter the then existing world view that the Earth was the center of the universe.

The conclusion of the human genome project in 2013, the discovery of gene editing through CRISPR and the advancements in nanomedicine have heralded a new era of playing with the human body. However, a few years before such technologies became mainstream, playing some of the roles of the creator were a matter of blind faith.

Would disruption in the Financial Technology (FINTECH) space be conceived of by closed minds? Probably not.

Two recommendations are noteworthy. First, Listen to Baz Luhrman’s “Everyone is free to wear sunscreen”

Second, remember you are your own benchmark and your own worst enemy. The key to choosing the right approach lies in your mindset.

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Abhishek Kothari

Abhishek Kothari

Futurist@The Intersection of Finance, Tech & Humanity. Stories of a Global Language: “Money”. Contributor @ Startup Grind, HackerNoon, HBR. Twitter@akothari_mba