A post by Bijan included a quote from John Lilly, ‘Design like you’re right; listen like you’re wrong’. He suggested that it was derived from John Sutton’s one liner: “Fight like you’re right, listen like you’re wrong.”
But doing some research, Sutton seems to credit Paul Saffo for the original germ of this thought, which is his advice to approach the future with ‘strong opinions, weakly held’:
A couple years ago, I was talking the Institute [For The Future]’s Bob Johansen about wisdom, and he explained that – to deal with an uncertain future and still move forward – they advise people to have “strong opinions, which are weakly held.” They’ve been giving this advice for years, and I understand that it was first developed by Instituite Director Paul Saffo. Bob explained that weak opinions are problematic because people aren’t inspired to develop the best arguments possible for them, or to put forth the energy required to test them. Bob explained that it was just as important, however, to not be too attached to what you believe because, otherwise, it undermines your ability to “see” and “hear” evidence that clashes with your opinions. This is what psychologists sometimes call the problem of “confirmation bias.”
The design case turns out to be a specific example of the more general mindset, which is, in fact, what defines wisdom. And more importantly, in a world changing at the pace of ours, the core premise of resilience.