Lesson 3.0:

The Power of Intellectual Humility

Dive into this topic by watching the video, then read the key concepts below:


Key Concepts:


Intellectual Humility is about being able to revise your thinking in light of new information.

  • IH is being open to changing your mind about things, while having the good judgment to know when you shouldn’t change your mind.

  • Many people work hard to study and learn about certain things they care about, and afterwards become “cognitively entrenched” in their knowledge.

  • This cognitive entrenchment tricks us unto thinking that we don’t or shouldn’t be open to changing our minds on issues we have expertise—precisely because we’ve been successful so far.

  • When something we strongly believe is threatened by new information, our brains will often resort to “cognitive distortions,” or mental gymnastics that help us justify hanging on to what we previously believe.

  • Just because we are open to changing our thinking doesn’t mean we have to do so. IH is about honest inquiry and honest pursuit of answers.

We need Intellectual Humility if we want to make use of cognitive diversity and friction.

  • If nobody is willing to change their mind, all the intelligence and all the great debates in the world won’t help us get further together.

  • This is one of the most important attributes we can develop as collaborators and leaders.

  • Even if we’re generally high in IH, we can behave in ways that don’t have IH in given situations. So we need to learn habits and rhetorical approaches that leave us open to operating with IH no matter what.

Simply learning the ins and outs of how Intellectual Humility works has been proven to help us get better at it. In this module, we’re going to do that and work on tactics and habits for practicing IH.