One of the best pieces of advice I got about five years ago was that I should have “strong ideas, loosely held.”
The feedback I was getting was on the “loosely held” part. At the time people experienced me as having “strong ideas, strongly held.” I think I’ve made some good progress on that.
Five years hence, as I come back to the central paradox inherent in this notion, I’m understanding that the suggestion isn’t to have any less conviction around my ideas. Indeed nearly all of the time we need more conviction, more passion, greater commitment, and greater follow-through.
The real point here is that the passion we have for our own ideas must be coupled with a core, deep-seeded belief that most ideas, most of the time, get better when they interact with, and are changed by, other ideas.