Despite his recent bout of personal problems, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon in 1994 headquartered in Seattle, is a highly successful businessman/technology entrepreneur, who has amassed a personal fortune of over $150 billion and stands at the helm of one of the most successful companies on earth. When asked about the number one sign of intelligence he looks for in a person, it seems a bit counter-intuitive. Do you have an idea of what it is?
According to Inc., Bezos says the biggest sign of intelligence is how often a person can admit they are wrong or change their opinion. “Bezos has ‘observed that the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of views, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.”
This concept isn’t a new one. Psychologists call it “intellectual humility” and have studies that show that when a person is willing to entertain the idea they’re wrong, they are likely to make better decisions. That’s because they don’t interpret being wrong as a sign of failure, they view it as “a sign of curiosity, openness to new information, and ultimately smarts.”
When you form an opinion about something, the idea is to consider it “weakly held,” meaning that you don’t become too attached to your beliefs or way of thinking and are open to see, hear and consider differing options.
So, when you’re working with someone and determining whether they are truly smart, ask them this: “When was the last time you changed your opinion?” If they can’t name times when they were wrong or admit when they changed their mind, they may not be as intelligent as you imagine.