Hands up if you hate being wrong. Go ahead and admit it. We are raised to be right. Trained in fact. And that makes us very productive. Yet it also weakens us, and sometimes it ruins our relationships.
It’s okay to be wrong. It really is. We all know this. We can assure others and we can even assure ourselves, but let’s be honest: we still don’t like it. We all remember those times when our faces burned with embarrassment. We remember feeling too vulnerable, to unsafe, too unstable, too powerless. We remember that sting.
Yet fear of being wrong is a huge problem. It’s why people sometimes double down on stupid ideas. Remember the Titanic? There were not enough lifeboats because it was “unsinkable.” Um, sure it was. Constantly being right is a narrow journey. What’s left to discover? To wonder about? To find?
And be careful because being wrong feels exactly like being right. Think about it: when we don’t know we are wrong; we think we’re right. It’s only when we realize we’re wrong that we feel awkward or ashamed. Couldn’t we avoid some of that if we simply developed a healthy habit called self-examination? I know, I know. Easier said than done. True. So start right now. Make a list of all the things you’ve been wrong about. Here’s mine:
- Bigfoot. (Still waiting.)
- Election outcomes.
- How to peel a banana. (Start at the bottom, not the top.)
- Almost everything I’ve tried to do right.
- I’ve even been wrong about being wrong sometimes.
A friend of mine has this philosophy: today is the last day I’ll be the worst I’ll ever be. I love that. We don’t have to like being wrong nor do we have to question everything. But if we ever want to create the right conditions to get life truly right, we have to admit when we’re wrong, to ourselves and especially to each other.
(I'm 98% sure I'm right about this.)