I once heard someone describe their viewpoint of the world: strong ideas loosely held. Since then, I have never heard such a succinct description of a more potent philosophy for continuous improvement.
Our ideas and viewpoints are some of the strongest aspects of our identity. Taking a stance, forming a thoroughly-reasoned opinion, and advocating for that position are key aspects of growth as individuals. Those that can confidently articulate a well-considered viewpoint are consistently the best leaders, the best co-workers, and the best friends.
And those that refuse to waiver are sometimes the most frustrating individuals you'll find.
At Bitmatica we'll often say that it's not better to be right, it's better to be better. Or at risk of sounding like the current US commander-in-chief, it's not about holding on to your ideas – it's about holding on to the best ideas. Ideas that have been put through increasing scrutiny, ideas that have considered situational nuance, and ideas that incorporate increasing amounts of conflicting goals, are the only ideas that we should be holding on to.
Often when presented with new information that challenges an idea, a split quickly emerges between those who refuse to modify their worldview, and those who are open to alternatives. There is often little value in holding onto an inaccurate position, just as there is often little value in maintaining a consistency of opinion purely for the sake of doing so. Switching may have a cost, such as deciding to change the direction of an organization after realizing its current tack is fruitless, and those costs should be evaluated, but never should a different position be ignored just for being different.
I like to think of my worldview as an optimization problem: its origins certainly weren't sacred, nor is its current state, and therefore I should always be on the lookout for ways to improve it. Upon the discovery of a more "correct" opinion with a low-enough switching cost (with both metrics being dependent on the situation), I should jump at the opportunity.
This often changes how you approach debates. In an argument with your co-workers, spouse, or friends, it's easy to assume that your opinions are under attack, and any successful hit is a blow to the defenses of your sacred castle of knowledge.
Instead, when both people take a charitable view of each other's opinions, you realize that you're actually playing on the same team, working together to almost cultivate a Darwinian logic experiment, and eagerly awaiting the outcome. People very rarely want to prove others wrong for the sake of doing so; instead, they simply want their opposing viewpoint to be heard.
Always listen to other perspectives, evaluate them, debate them, and let the best position win given whichever set of unique circumstances may exist. We can become more educated and thoughtful individuals as we work together to advance the best ideas, not just ours. Because it's not better to be right – it's better to be better.