Don’t be married to your ideas

For a long time, humans believed that the earth was the center of the universe while the sun, stars, and other planets revolve around it. Copernicus challenged the idea in the 16th century by stating the sun was the center. Surgeons have been killing patients with their own germs until Ignaz Semmelweis introduced hand washing with chlorinated lime solutions in 1847.

If Copernicus and Semmelweis accepted the status quo, science and medicine would not have improved. This is why I think open-mindedness is very important in society. Dogmatism only leads to stagnation.

I am reminded of the Black Swan problem originally postulated by John Stuart Mill and made popular by Nassim Taleb:

No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion.

Ideas or theories are never right because a black swan could pop out of nowhere and make them all invalid. In other words, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”

Be open-minded. Don’t be dogmatic. Don’t be married to your ideas. Iterate when new information challenges your idea. Pivot. Pivot. Pivot.

Pivot scene from Friends