I recently read this interview with Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, where he shares his opinion about the single most important trait of intelligence.
Intelligence as the confidence to change your mind in the face of new information and circumstances? I love it and I believe it too! But not because of what you think.
I don’t share this belief because Jeff Bezos said it, but I share this belief because it is shared by other great leaders, researchers and religions.
Changing your mind in the face of nature is core to the concept of non-attachment in pure meditation practice. Non-attachment, being present, non-judgement, non-grasping, releasing expectations is the pursuit of non-suffering. It’s pure flow. Pure transcendence.
Sticking to one position is also simply not nature. It is not the essence of organic evolution. Having opinions is great, important – even something you are paid to do – but being inflexible about them is the weakness.
We are specks on a rock hurtling through time and space. Of course your mind, life, opinions, and thoughts must change.
Being mapless (as I like to say) is also part of Bob Kegan’s theory of adult development. The most mature form of mental complexity is the state of self-transformation – having no fixed form or opinion but being able to see the system of interdependence between things and people, and being able to flow with it. Changing your mind is actually the most courageous thing you could do.
And finally, like Bruce Lee said, “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”