Ownership of physical objects is easy to understand, but taking ownership of an idea can lead to problems.
This doesn’t mean “taking ownership” of a situation at work; it’s always good to stand up and own your work. It’s when you take ownership of a certain idea and refuse to let it go that it becomes troublesome.
I shared this idea a few years ago regarding people that say things like “I’ll never switch to an iPhone”, and Dan Ariely dug into a little deeper in his book “Predictably Irrational“. Dan says:
“Ownership is not limited to material things. It can also apply to points of view. Once we take ownership of an idea — whether it’s about politics or sports — what do we do? We love it perhaps more than we should. We prize it more than it is worth. And most frequently, we have trouble letting go of it because we can’t stand the idea of its loss. What are we left with then? An ideology — rigid and unyielding.”
It can be fun to disagree in this regard when it comes to cell phones or sports teams, but it gets much more challenging when it comes to politics and values.
If you believe that all school lunches should be free, college loans should be forgiven, or that we need to build a wall along the border, you’re welcome to have those beliefs and I encourage you to fight for them. However, if you take such ownership of an idea that you “can’t stand the idea of its loss”, that’s problematic.
In the light of new angles or evidence, be willing to change your position. It’s not “flip-flopping” — the people with the strongest convictions tend to be the most curious about them. As Gary Vaynerchuk has said, “You can be humble and curious but also have conviction in your beliefs. It’s not either-or.“
Take some ownership, fight hard, but never stop evaluating what you believe.