We can all be a little prideful at times. When we have devoted a lot of time to certain thing it can be quite easy to believe that we know everything about that particular thing and it can be very difficult to hear another person’s point of view. This is natural, it just shows that you take pride in the amount of effort that you’ve put into something and have developed a certain sense of confidence in this area. You should always be careful though that you don’t become overconfident because this overconfidence will create a barrier that won’t allow you to learn new things. If you believe that you know everything about everything or something, then there’s nothing else that you can learn and this is of course not true. Try to always maintain a certain sense of humility so that you are able to contemplate new ideas from different angles and are therefore always able to expand intellectually and in all areas.
Try to stay logical and always identify when you don’t have enough evidence to prove your point completely. It is most important that you learn to approach any endeavor in a logical fashion so that you can objectively study what you know and what you don’t know about whatever you are engaged in. Through logical progression and objective detachment you can separate your ego from your knowledge.
If you are not completely sure of your particular point, if you do not have all the evidence to prove your particular belief, always make sure that you phrase your belief in a way that does not make you sound like you are the final and undeniable authority on this particular point. You can easily do this by starting a statement in this way; “I may be wrong, but what I think is…”. You can also say something like; “based on my knowledge in this area, I would say that…”.
Maintaining a level of humility is always good strategy. It allows you to adopt a position where you can state your point without being attacked because you are sounding like you are somehow indisputable in your knowledge. In order to maintain this personal humility, and therefore maintain superior position, make sure that you are able to identify when you are arguing a belief without evidence to justify it. This can be rather tricky as we can all develop certain ‘blind spots’ to our own beliefs. The two biggest reasons for these are our ego and the fact that we have never questioned a belief but always ‘assumed’ that it was completely right.
It is always therefore a good idea to question every single belief that you have. Beliefs can take on the trait of being ‘invisible beliefs’. This happens when a belief is completely skimmed over because we completely assume that this belief is totally and utterly true; it is beyond question. Learn to question even your religious, cultural, and political beliefs. If you do not then you will make general assumptions about things and believe your points to be irrefutable. Always remember that *“assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.”
Whenever you can it is also a good idea to find alternative sources of information. This is most important because even if the information agrees with what your points of view are, they can be presented in different perspectives and viewpoints that might allow you to see things in a different light. This might allow you to consider new possibilities and to perhaps even see things that your sources of information have not seen. Also try to find sources of information that totally contradict your point of view and contemplate those sources with an open and objective mind.
You should never be afraid to explore your beliefs and to explore new beliefs that you have never considered before. By exploring our existing beliefs we can begin to understand our fundamental reasoning which can greatly increase our intellectual ability. Being open to new beliefs can allow us to be open to new insights and possibilities that we have never considered in the past.
A great exercise is to take a topic or an individual and make a list of everything that you know to be absolutely true about a certain thing or individual. Then make a list of all the things that you think might be true but you are not sure about. And lastly make a list of all the things that you don’t know about that certain subject or individual. When you are done, either show this information to the individual or try to dig as much information as you can on the subject. You can get some very valuable insights as to your thinking process and discover certain blind spots that you had not been aware of. This exercise can help you discover the nature of these blind spots and can show you where you have been making assumptions.
Personal pride in what you know is a healthy thing. This personal pride lets you know that you have developed confidence in the subject. This personal confidence is usually achieved through hard work and personal study on your part. This personal confidence is actually a type of armor that you use on a regular basis to protect your individuality from any stray belief that others might try to impose upon you. It is though the case that you should always maintain a strategic stance whenever you are trying to express your beliefs and make your points. By maintaining a stance of humility, you put yourself in a superior strategic position by letting others know that you do not consider yourself to be beyond refute. Maintain a stance of humility and you will be able to express your points as you wish. You will also begin to open yourself up to new ideas and beliefs which will greatly expand your intellectual capabilities.
*Eugene Lewis Fordsworthe