September 22, 2010

An adaptive mind-set

"An adaptive mind-set is the opposite of what is conventionally considered a visionary approach. An adaptive mind-set is highly pragmatic. It values tangible facts about today more than guesses about tomorrow, doesn't expect that everything will work out as planned, and prefers lots of small failures to big ones. Above all, an adaptive mind-set is willing to say, "We learned something new; we need to change course."

~ Eric Beinhocker, source The Origin of Wealth, p 348


  1. This reminds me of a story:

    To a visitor who described himself as a seeker after Truth the Master said, "If what you seek is Truth, there is one thing you must have above all else."
    "I know. An overwhelming passion for it."
    "No. An unremitting readiness to admit you may be wrong."

  2. Yes, and in a readiness to recognize what you just don't know.
    Also, in addition to to seeking truth there is the matter of finding out and doing what works.

  3. Yes! Feynman put it so nicely:

    "We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified—how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don't know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know."

  4. Great discussion. I have long been an aspiring practitioner of 'not knowing', not an easy path amidst the racing highway of certainty and puffed up confidence that is our modern way. I once went to a square dancing evening, and much to my delight, the most fun moments were when I didn't know what to do and was bumping into other people, in a kind of delightful chaos. That helped me understand the beauty of not knowing, and gave me more confidence to trust the openness of it.

  5. Hi Graig, indeed there is a close relationship between not knowing and openness, isn't there?


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