Strong Opinions, Loosely Held
Convicted, Convicted, Convicted, New Facts, Change Mind — this is the explanation of Marc Andreessen to Tim Ferriss of how to best deal with an uncertain future yet still move forward.
Strong, cohesive views are best born out of challenging your perspective and exploring alternate ideas.
Wisdom isn’t reduced to simply being right, but rather it’s about being truth seeking, having good judgement and recognising the limits of what you know. Marc was explaining his view in the context of investing, but “Strong Opinions, Loosely Held” holds value in business and in our daily communication.
Finding areas out of the general consensus keeps the status quo accountable and in turn allows growth. Blockbuster’s ‘strong view, strongly held’ in regards to its existing business model in 2000 led to it spurning the opportunity to buy Netflix for $50 million; Netflix is now worth $32.9 billion and Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Blockbuster’s ‘strongly held’ view meant it failed to react to the ‘new facts’ of internet based systems. “Loosely held” means we are able to successfully adapt when the world changes.
Strong, cohesive views are best born out of challenging your perspective and exploring alternate ideas. If you confine yourself to one environment, one peer group and consistently read the same angled media then it is unlikely that you will have a world view that is different to the one given to you. It is a passive belief rather than active. The biggest danger with a passive, assumed belief is to then equate ‘normality’ with it being ‘correct’.
We should be encouraged to stick our heads above the parapet with reasoned, strong views. Then, as the world changes, we should be similarly encouraged to reassess and change our views as necessary.