Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 30th 2015 Contents • From Page B43
Intellectual humility comes in
many other forms--but at its centre
is the ability to question the limits
of your knowledge. On what
assumptions are you basing your
decision? How verifiable are they?
What additional information should
you hunt out to make a more bal-
Have you looked at examples of
similar situations for comparison?
Going through those steps may seem
elementary, but consider this: with
that simple training, many of Tet-
lock s subjects managed to beat the
forecasts of professional intelligence
agents, who were perhaps less ready
to own up to their ignorance.
3 Argue with yourself
and don't pull the punches
If self-deprecation isn t your
strong suit, there is a simple strategy
to deflate those biases, pick the exact
opposite standpoint, and start argu-
ing against your convictions. That
internal argument can puncture
many of the most resilient biases --
such as overconfidence, and
"anchoring"---the tendency to be
convinced by the first piece of evi-
dence that floats your way.
A similar, but distinct, tactic might
involve putting yourself in someone
else s shoes and imagining their
viewpoint. That could be particularly
useful when dealing with personal
problems, like King Solomon in the
Bible, we are often much wiser when
advising others than when dealing
with issues closer to home.
4 Imagine "what if..."
One of Sternberg s biggest issues
with the education system is that
we are not taught to use our smarts
to be practical, or creative.
Even if we aren t schooled through
rote memorisation any more, many
teachers still don t necessarily train
the kind of flexibility needed in most
of real life. One way to develop those
skills could be to re-imagine key
History students could write an
essay exploring "What would the
world be like if Germany had won
World War Two?" or "What would
have happened if Britain had per-
manently abolished the monarchy
in the 17th Century?"
If history isn t your thing, writing
a story imagining, "the day the pres-
ident quit" or "the day my wife dis-
appeared," could be a starting point.
It may sound fanciful, but the
point is that it forces you to consider
the different eventualities and form
Young children help hone that
kind of "counterfactual thinking"
when they play pretend, which helps
them to learn everything from the
laws of physics to social skills.
We don t tend to practise it delib-
erately as an adult but you might
find that it helps broaden your
mindset when grappling with the
5 Don't underestimate
As Benjamin Franklin s mishap
demonstrates, distraction and
absent-mindedness can be the
downfall of the best of us. When
wrestling with complex situations,
it is easy to forget the basics which
is why Gawande is a passionate
advocate of checklists as a gentle
At the Johns Hopkins Hospital,
for instance, a list of five bullet
points reminding doctors of basic
hygiene reduced ten-day infection
rates from 11 per cent to zero per
A similar checklist for pilots,
reminding them of the basic pro-
cedures for take-off and landing,
seemed to halve American pilot
deaths during World War Two.
As Gawande points out, these
were professionals with the greatest
skill and cutting-edge technology
-- yet a simple piece of paper ended
up saving so many lives.
Whatever your profession, those
facts are worth considering before
you assume that you know it all
Practice these steps, and you
might just find that you start to find
talents that were previously unrecog-
If you are looking for inspiration,
consider Sternberg. As a child at
elementary school, he flunked an
IQ test and generally failed to
"All my teachers thought I was
stupid and I thought I was stupid."
He might have bombed out of
school, had he not later found a
mentor who realised there was more
to smart thinking than abstract
problems, and encouraged him to
train his mind more broadly. Thanks
to that support, he is now a professor
"Intelligence isn t a score on an
IQ test---it s the ability to figure what
you want in life and finding ways
to achieve that," he says---even if
that involves some painful self-
awareness of your own follies. (BBC)
Thursday, April 30, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
www.nibtt.net · Customer Care Centre: (868) 625-4NIS (4647) · email@example.com · Find us on Facebook
Employment Injury | Funeral Grant | Invalidity | Maternity | Retirement | Sickness | Survivor's
CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAYS
will be hosted during the month of April
at ALL our Service Centres.
It has been our pleasure to be of service to you over the last forty-three years.
To s ay Thank You to our customers,
The National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago celebrated its 43rd Anniversary
on April 10, 2015.
9:00 am to 2:00 pm
'Intellectual humility questions the limits of knowledge'
Benjamin Franklin, the great scientist and inventor was prone to silly lapses
and elementary mistakes.
Links Archive April 29th 2015 May 1st 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page