Discover more from Unknown Unknowns
In a podcast with Lex Fridman, Ryan Hall discussed facilitated versus non-facilitated beliefs.
Facilitated beliefs are when you open yourself up to the possibility that a belief is true. Ryan says, “If I don't believe something is possible, and I do no investigation towards it, I'll never find something even if it's there.” He uses an example of how your attitude when approaching a group of people determines the outcome. If you think they’re a bunch of dummies, you’re much less likely to have an interesting conversation than if you wonder what they’re up to.
If you don’t believe something is possible, you won’t spend the time or resources to try it out. But if you investigate something thought to be impossible, even if you don’t accomplish it, you’re more likely to push the boundaries of knowledge. And there’s a chance you might accomplish it because we don’t know everything.
“Only a person who's willing to spend his or her life in that pursuit will actually get to the bottom of that, and also in the, in the pursuit of that they're likely to find other things… Obsessing over the cult of our current knowledge, I think is the biggest, the biggest danger, and the biggest cause of stagnation that exists anywhere.” - Ryan Hall
These beliefs don’t need to be large impossible things like nuclear fusion or leaving the solar system.
Have an open mind on trying a new hobby - I tried pottery. I didn’t think I would be interested at all. But as soon as I touched the clay, I was engrossed by the tactile sensations. And I started becoming fascinated by the process of throwing. I still can’t make anything that looks like I want it to look beforehand, but what comes out can be not half bad.
Learning how to make pottery has made me think about learning in general. And I wouldn’t have learned those lessons if I hadn’t been open-minded to the idea of pottery.
On a grand scale, if you don't try something impossible, you won't know if it's possible. But even being open to trying a small thing could open an opportunity you never thought about.