At our latest agency book club, we discussed “The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t” by Julia Galef. On a daily basis, we have to make decisions and judgment calls that are influenced by our worldviews – and our mindsets. Galef says we can combat distorting our perception of reality through our worldview lens by having what she calls “the scout mindset.” Seeking truth over comfort, employing the scout mindset allows us to question our assumptions and ultimately make sound decisions without deceiving ourselves. So how do you become a scout? If you’re ready to read and take the scout oath, consider picking up a copy here. If not, here are three key takeaways.
Identify motivated reasoning.
We all do it – it’s just how our brains are wired. Motivated reasoning is when our unconscious motives affect the conclusions we draw. We all choose to champion ideas that we want to be true instead of taking the time to try and logically find the truth. Asking ourselves “Is this true?” versus “Can I believe this?” is an indication of switching from what Julia calls a “soldier mindset” into the scout mindset. Instead of motivated reasoning that resembles defensive combat or fortifying your position in the solider mindset, scouts move into motivated reasoning that feels like mapmaking, drawn out by evidence of what is true.
Reframe how you view being wrong.
Sometimes, to protect our egos, we find flattering narratives for unflattering facts. When there is an idea we want to defend, we tend to find comforting stories that corroborate support of the idea and opt not to study them too closely. The more we get ourselves to believe the idea or claim, the more evidence we can collect to support it – and the easier it will be for us to persuade others and so on. Reframing how we view being wrong about an idea can allow us to take a step back and seek evidence that leads to accurate conclusions instead of a miscalculation. It’s an opportunity to get better at being right.
To find the scout within, add a dash of curiosity. Traversing the landscape of the truth by spotting and acknowledging our own biases are classic scout traits – and it isn’t always easy to do. Our brains have evolved to help us make survival decisions, not logically find the truth in every situation. So, sometimes it takes a conscious effort to make the best decisions. Our ability to change depends on how we react when the world confounds our expectations. Getting curious and questioning our perceptions is the best way to dip into the scout mindset.
The truth is we all have a little bit of scout within us – but to truly be a scout, sometimes we need to be nimble and understand that our worldview is a living document, meant to be revised. It’s important to find grace in the little ways we can take a step back and clarify the map we’re trying to sketch out.
Interested in tapping into the scout mindset for your next brand strategy session? Email Dana Arnold at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a call.