Mental Fishing – Intellectual Humility with Charles Plott of PAS Profile

Power Pole

MentalBlogHumility in this sense is NOT thinking less of your ability or judgment. I mean humility in the sense that you recognize and disregard your personal preferences and biases when on the water. The critical thinker assesses the circumstances and what the fish are doing/not doing and puts him/herself in the place of the fish. But, the angler cannot put onto the fish human qualities and decision making skills.

The best anglers are always thinking is ahead of the fish, while most of us are worried about what the fish are doing. Great anglers are thinking about where they are going as much as where they are at right now.”

Humility implies it is important for the angler not to so highly regard his or her beliefs. Instead there is an urgency to question beliefs and perceptions to make sure they are valid. The best way to do this is to ask oneself, “What else can this information mean?” “Does all of this add up to something else?”
The opinions of others are not discounted just because they aren’t as good as you at finding or catching fish. Humility means you look for the truth everywhere. You take in information quietly and systematically. It values unworthy or bad information for what it is and uses it to paint the picture of the real truth.

We all have blind spots. The humble critical thinker has fewer blind spots. They self-analyze! The coaching great Bear Bryant hired scouts through a third party to scout his Alabama teams. He wanted to know what gifted observers saw when they watched his Alabama teams. Why? Because he knew that he was not able to see things objectively. One scout noted that on seventy percent of third downs with less than five yards to go that Bryant’s team ran to the right side. Bryant thought that his play calling was much too predictable.
Who do you have exploring your blind spots? Can you objectively look at yourself and your decision making?

There is a fact that must admit: We live to prove ourselves right!
We have beliefs and act upon those beliefs. We are all “egocentristic.” That is, we see life from our point of view and assume that is the truth. Great performance decision makers have the ability to see beyond themselves and not assume they automatically see the truth. In fact, they assume just the opposite (this is humility) – that they are not seeing the whole truth. Then, they go looking for the truth they might be missing.

Another angler told me how he makes decisions to move on from a place that isn’t producing or to stay and figure out how to catch the fish he believes are there. How he does that I cannot fully explain in this venue, but he told me that there is a weighing of time lost fishing versus the potential gain in weight that may or may not be at the next location that factor in to his decision making process.

All of that reminded me of the great baseball book, Money Ball by Michael Lewis. In it he tracks the Oakland A’s crazy formula for producing winning teams for a fraction of the cost of many top franchises. They valued certain skills, like on-base percentage, more than anything else. Management dictated to the manager not to bunt runners over because the “price of an out” was not worth the gaining of one base. They had analyzed the data, knew the value of being on base, the value of an out, and even the value of balls and strikes with certain pitch counts.

The greatest anglers do the same in some fashion. They are the best because they question their personal preferences. They do not assume their urges or impulses are right. And, they have the will power and energy to sort through it all.

Charles Plott, M.S. is a Performance Consultant. He brings two decades of experience helping individuals, teams, and businesses improve performance. Charles is a retired Licensed Professional Counselor, with over 20,000 hours of experience. His website is