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This episode is a bit of an anomaly. It’s about applying scientific thinking to our lives and being willing to revise our ideas, beliefs, and actions, and learning one of the most important meta skills: the ability to change our minds and be willing to admit we were wrong.

I think that our ability to accomplish our goals and intentions in any area of our life depends in a very large part on this ability. 

People who aren’t good at changing their minds, who are very stubborn, very defensive, and who refuse to say sorry, rarely make it. Life runs roughshod over those people and I don’t know anyone like that who is successful or doing well in life. 

I don’t just mean financially, either. Sure, that’s one component of success, but there are other things that matter like physical and mental health, and the quality of relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. 

On the flip side, some of the most successful people I know share quite a few traits, and one that’s always stood out is that they don’t have a problem saying that they were wrong. They don’t have a problem changing their mind when presented with good enough information.

In fact, they actively seek out that information. They read books, and listen to podcasts, interviews, and lectures. They don’t just seek out information that confirms the things that they think are correct, either. They’re willing to hear counterpoints and they’re willing to entertain other ideas. 

That is, they’re willing to go through that process of approaching the ultimate truth, but they also understand that it’s impossible to achieve absolute certainty of most things that matter in life. They’re just too complex, and there are too many shadings of truth. 

These people don’t fall into the mental trap of thinking they have everything worked out, though. They continue evolving their understanding of the world and their interactions with it. 

So, that’s a little foretaste of today’s episode. If I’ve piqued your interest, I think you’re going to like the rest of it, so take a listen and let me know what you think! 

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Greetings, friend. I’m Mike Matthews. This is Muscle for Life. Thank you for joining me today, and this episode is a little bit of an anomaly. It is not the normal type of content that I post, but I thought it was interesting enough. I thought enough of you might find it interesting to warrant being its own episode because it actually started as me recording an introduction to what was supposed to be about.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies correcting the five most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and it turned into a tangent on scientific thinking, applying the scientific method to our lives, and being willing to revise our ideas and our beliefs and our actions, and learning a very important, I would say, one of the most important, if not the most important meta skill.

And I explain in this episode what a meta skill is, and that is the ability to change our minds, to be willing to admit we were wrong, or as I explain in this episode, to first be willing to view these experiences as opportunities to be more right. And so as I explain in this episode, I really do think my current position, which I am willing to change, but I really do th.

Think that our ability to accomplish our goals, to accomplish our intentions in any area of our life depends in a very large part on this ability that people who are not good at changing their minds, who are very stubborn, very defensive. Who refused to say sorry, for example, or to say, oh yeah, I was wrong.

Or to say, oh yeah, I once believed that was true, but now I think of it a bit differently. Those people rarely make it. Life runs roughshod over those people. I don’t know anyone, for example like that, who I would say is successful in life. Who is doing well? In life, at least by my standards, and I don’t just mean financially.

Yeah, that’s one component of course, and that is an important component, but there are other things that matter a lot, like their personal health, mental and physical, the quality of their relationships. Their familiar relationships, their friendships, their relationships with coworkers and colleagues and people in the groups that they participate in and their impact in those groups and so forth.

And on the flip side, some of the most successful people I know, some of the people who I could say, I would love to achieve their level of living. Well, they share quite a few traits. There are quite a few common denominators, but one that has always stood out to me is this point, they don’t have a problem saying that they were wrong.

They don’t have a problem changing their mind when presented with good enough information and all of them, all of the people I’m thinking of. Actively seek out that information. They read books, they listen to podcasts and interviews and lectures, and they don’t just do that to reinforce their biases.

They don’t just seek out information that confirms the things that they think are correct. They are willing to hear counterpoints and they’re willing to entertain other ideas. Maybe they don’t accept a lot of the other ideas that they hear, but. They’re willing to go through that process of approaching the ultimate truth, approaching the ultimate certainty in whatever endeavor or discipline or area of life that we’re talking about, and they also understand that it is impossible to achieve.

Absolute certainty to grasp the absolute truth of most things that matter in life. They are just too complex. There are too many shadings of truth, and so they don’t fall into the mental trap of thinking that they have most things mostly worked out, and there’s no real need to continue evolving their understanding of the world and their interactions with it.

And so that’s a little foretaste of today’s episode. If you’re still listening and I have peaked your interest, I think you’re gonna like the rest of it. Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world, and we’re on top.

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That appeals to science, that appeals to some authority. It’s not necessarily wrong and it shouldn’t necessarily be automatically viewed with skepticism, but just understand that science doesn’t prove what is. True. Just because the current weight of the scientific evidence indicates that something is probably true doesn’t mean that it is necessarily true or true in the exact way that we currently understand it.

Science is a method of investigating truth and coming closer to truth, and it is always evolving. So practically speaking, it makes sense to try to align as much of your eating and training and supplementation with the current weight of the evidence as you can. Assuming you can come to a good understanding of that weight of the evidence through your own research or through someone you trust who digests the information for you and shares it like I try to do, you know, here on my podcast and in my books and articles and so forth, but don’t allow any of that to become dogma.

Be willing to change your positions and change your actions as the evidence changes, as research advances and we get closer to the truth, and that’s something that I consciously am always working on myself because I have a responsibility. To do that because I am sharing information with a lot of people and that, for example, is why I have updated my flagship books for men and women.

Bigly Stronger and Thinly Stronger many times over the years. I’ve done three official editions now, but I’ve done also kind of in the middle editions around of updates that didn’t warrant a new edition in between. For example, the second and third edition I did probably three or four rounds of up.

Updates little things here and there just to clarify things based on reader feedback and questions, or to update information as my understanding evolved, just to make it more accurate and more useful. And I am now working on another round of updates, which probably could qualify as a. Fourth edition, but I’m just going to update the existing third edition.

None of the fundamental principles in the programs are gonna change, but I think I can do a better job presenting the information now than I did in the third edition, which came out a couple of years ago. There are enough things on my list that I think I can improve Also, I think I can take some information out and then put.

Other information in that will be more useful. And so my list of things got long enough to where my conscience compelled me to wanna do another round of upgrades and updates. It’s boring work. It’s mostly just editing, which is not as fun as creating new material. But I will be very happy when it’s done because I’ll know that every reader.

From there on out is going to have an even better experience than readers are currently having. Anyway, one other point that just pops into my head about the process of changing your mind, basically of revising your positions and revising your actions as new information becomes available to you and particularly.

Being open to that and not being stubbornly resistant to information that doesn’t fit your current positions and current actions. Something that has always helped me work to overcome my biases really is what we’re talking about, right? Is to see that process as becoming more right. Not as being wrong.

Oh, I changed my mind on something. I was wrong. Yes, actually, I may have been wrong. Objectively speaking. That may have been true, but I can also look at it the other way around and see it as becoming more. Right. And I can also consider the conditions under which I previously. Came to the conclusion or decided to behave in that way.

And look, if I made a good decision, given the information that I had, and if I did, I can also acknowledge that, that I did do a good job assessing the information or the circumstances and coming to a conclusion and acting on that conclusion, even if I now know. That the information or the circumstances are otherwise that I was missing information or I was missing details in the circumstances, or I misinterpreted information or misinterpreted circumstances.

And if I look back and conclude that I did not do a good job processing the information or the circumstances, then I can look for a lesson. I can try to learn something from that experience so I can make better decisions in the future and not. Make the same mistakes. I don’t mind making mistakes so long as I can learn from them and not repeat them.

And that ability to not just think critically, but be willing to allow yourself to be more right. I could say be willing to be wrong, but those words make many people very defensive so we can look at it the other way. The process of allowing yourself to be more right and to not become ossified in your ideas and behaviors, to resist the urge to retreat to a bunker mentality.

That ability is a key meta skill. In life, meaning a higher order skill that allows you to develop other skills and allows other positive things to happen. In fact, I would go as far as saying a lot of our ability to accomplish our goals in any area of our life, to build the body we want to build the business or the career that we want to build, the relationships that we want to build, maybe the social impact that we want depends on.

This meta skill. It depends on a couple of others as well, like critical thinking and communication. But this point in particular of not having to obsessively hold on to our ideas and our beliefs and our behaviors. Is one of the top three, if not the top meta skill that is going to determine the overall tenor of our lives.

Because no matter how clever or perceptive we are, it is difficult to get things a lot more right than wrong. Initially, anybody who has done a lot of marketing work knows this, that you have to be willing to run a lot of marketing experiments and you have to be willing for most of them to fail. No matter how great they looked on paper, no matter how aligned they were with best practices or research, there is no guarantee that they will work out, and I’ve experienced that many, many times.

It doesn’t bother me anymore. It used to bother me a little bit. Because I was prone to overconfidence because I figured that I did a good job informing myself and thinking about what we’re gonna do and coming up with a plan and executing on the plan only to have it flop. And sometimes I also didn’t even know why it didn’t work as well as I thought it would work.

A good example of that is when we upgraded legion’s checkout flow, which previously was objectively bad by checkout best practices bad, we basically checked none of the boxes that you want to check. Previously, the checkout was. Ugly, and it was unconventionally laid out, so it was a little bit confusing and there were too many steps.

So it just required more work than it should have required to check out. And so we went from that to a very streamlined checkout. Our current checkout now is very much in line with best practices, very similar to Shopify, for example. It’s clean, it flows. It is, I think, currently a two-step checkout and we’re actually going to a one step, we’re gonna test a one step to make it even easier to check out.

And I thought with a high level of certainty that that new checkout would outperform the old one significantly. It wasn’t gonna increase checkout percentage or decrease abandoned rates by 30, 40, 50%. I believe our checkout percentage at the time was already high sixties anyway, which is. Good. Quite good actually, by anyone’s standards.

However, I did think that we could get maybe a 10 to 20% lift and a couple of smart digital marketer friends of mine, like Neil Patel for example, if you’re familiar with Neil Patel, digital, very smart marketer, very smart business person, a lot of experience. He also thought, yeah. 10 to 20% would make sense to him.

So we roll out the new checkout, which of course required a bit of time and a bit of money. It required my designers and my dev team to work on it for, I believe it was like a three or four week project, and they were doing some other stuff in that time as well. It wasn’t three or four weeks full-time on that, but that was their priority for three or four weeks.

We roll it out. And there was no appreciable difference. If it is making a difference, it is too little to see in the data. It may, for example, have increased checkout rates by three, four, maybe 5%. Absolute numbers not relative. And we wouldn’t see that in the data because that would just take a sample size way bigger than is even worth pursuing.

I mean, at this point we just stuck with it cause we know. It is better than the older one, and some people will probably appreciate that. And there was a time when an experience like that would annoy me a little bit. I would feel a little bit disappointed because how can such a sure thing fail to materialize?

But now, I skip over that reaction and I just go straight to, well, what can we learn from this experience? And in this case, what we can learn is that well, with our old checkout, our checkout rate was actually quite good, and it is very hard to get above 70%. Period. No matter what you’re selling in e-commerce, it is basically impossible as far as I know, to reach 80%.

For example, like if you’re in the high sixties to low seventies or mid seventies, in your checkout rates, you are doing very well, and so you are basically already there. Previously, and so the lesson I took away from that experience, the hypothesis that I updated, I had a hypothesis previously, and now I know that I am more right in that I updated that hypothesis to what I think is reasonable and that is that previously with the old checkout people who were deciding to purchase people who were.

Entering the checkout flow with the intention of checking out of buying whatever it is they want to buy. Were willing to suffer through my kind of janky checkout that it didn’t create enough friction to cause a major drop off. And so then if that hypothesis is true, or if it is at least closer to the truth than my old hypothesis, then of course updating the checkout and making it a lot better isn’t going to make a big difference in the numbers.

It’s not going to make a big difference quantitatively. But I also think this is part of my current hypothesis that. It is making a qualitative difference. The quality of the checkout experience is now better, and I think many people are appreciating that more than the old checkout, that if they were to rank their experience, checking out on a scale of one to 10, that previously it was maybe a five and now maybe it’s a seven or an eight, and.

That does matter, and particularly with first time buyers, because the first impression that you make is so important in business. I mean, the very first impression when somebody lands on your website, I mean, research shows that people are very quick to judge a business based on what they see on the website, and if they conclude that they don’t like the website, then they are a lot less likely.

To buy and it also can impact their experience of the product in service. If people are buying something despite a bad first impression, let’s say an ugly website and an annoying checkout process, they are more likely to dislike the product. And on the flip side, then if you can make a really good first impression, if they can land on the website and it looks clean, and it looks nice and it looks professional, and then they can have a nice easy checkout experience, they are more likely.

To like the product, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m super picky about every touchpoint we have with prospects and customers. With every element of the website design and the user experience and the email follow ups and the customer service experience, I’m always looking for ways to make a better first impression, to reduce friction, to better serve the needs of my.

Prospective buyers and my customers.

If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world. That mindset wouldn’t be possible though it wouldn’t be actionable without the ability to allow myself to continue to be more right?

If I were much more fixed in my ideas and opinions and ways. There are a lot of things that I wouldn’t even be willing to test or try tryout because those things would be settled. To me, maybe I would even go as far as associating them with some element of my identity, right? Maybe I would associate my marketing ideas with my general intelligence, and so then I would feel personally offended.

I would feel personally attacked if someone were to tell me, Hey, you’re doing it this way. You should probably try doing it this way because it’s probably gonna be better. And so again, I have consciously worked on this enough to get to a point where I can easily just say, I was wrong, and I can say it without any compunction and I can be happy to find areas where I’m wrong because that allows me now to become more right?

And a little exercise that you can do, you could add it to your morning routine, for example, that can help you cultivate this skill and cultivate this mindset is to look at all of the different ways that you are. Right? Come up with specific examples where you. Were right where you did do a good job analyzing the situation, coming to a conclusion and acting, and then getting the results that you wanted and that you predicted.

And just remember times where you were right, and you’ll realize that you are probably more right than wrong. A lot of the time. And so once you realize that it becomes a lot easier to accept instances of being wrong and to see them to interpret those experiences as opportunities to be more right. And that’s also a good criterion for deciding which people you are going to allow into your inner circle in your life.

If you become closely associated with someone who is very fixed in their ways and who generally refuses to be wrong about anything, you are inviting a lot of trouble because such people are extremely difficult to deal with to live with. And even worse if you spend enough time. Around a person like that, you are going to become more like that.

You will not be able to consciously resist that change. The old cliche of you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around is a cliche for a reason. It is true. It is something that has been known at. Totally for a long time. A lot of people have known it intuitively. They’ve experienced it firsthand.

They’ve seen it in others, but at this point we can also say it’s backed by science. There is good research on that phenomenon. It is real, and it would be extremely arrogant for anyone, including me to think that that doesn’t apply to them, that most people are affected that way, but, I am not because I am special.

I am an outlier. Everyone’s an outlier, right? That’s the curse of magical thinking, which also includes completely neglecting the probabilities of situations or thinking that while a plan objectively has very little chance of working out, it’s me. So of course it’s gonna work out. And if it doesn’t work out, of course it wasn’t my fault.

I wasn’t wrong. I’ll just find somebody or something to blame, and that way I can remain ensconced in my delusions and they may objectively ruin my life, but at least I never have to say I was wrong. At least I can tell myself all the way to the bitter end. I was right. At least I can say to quote Frank Sinatra, I did it my way.

And so, hey, if that’s how someone wants to live, bless their cotton socks, it’s gonna be a rough ride. But maybe they like it rough, you know? The rest of us though, let’s try to do better as the obnoxious blue check marks like to say, which is actually an ironic comment for me to say, because I finally got my blue check mark on Instagram.

Oh, I feel so validated. But you know, we’re all. Allowed at least small hypocrisies now and then, right? And so anyway, I think I will abruptly stop talking at this point. Ironically, this episode was supposed to be on the topic of fixing the five most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies. And then I started rambling on this tangent that turned into this entire episode and figured, eh, I guess I’ll.

Release this as its own episode. It doesn’t really make sense at this point to release a 20 minute intro to then segue into vitamin and mineral deficiencies. So I will follow up and I will definitely record. A monologue on correcting vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I’ll shuffle my schedule around and I will publish it a week from today.

I’ll publish it next Monday. And well, now that I’m talking about schedule, I have some more things coming for you this week. I have an interview coming with my buddy Chase tuning where he talks about some of the. Interesting lessons he learned during lockdown. And I have a book club episode coming, which I think I will have done in time.

I may not, so I may need to bump that to the following week. But I will definitely have a q and a coming on Friday where I’m gonna be talking about vegan meat alternatives, gaining strength, but not size and fitness for shift workers. All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful.

And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or. Wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility and thus it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger.

Healthier and happier as well. And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for Just muscle f o r and share your thought.

On how I can do this better. I read everything myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. Even if it is criticism, I’m open to it. And of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.

That is the best way to get ahold of me, [email protected]. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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