I used to HATE being wrong.
Like… really hate it.
I was known (and for many, I’m sure this is still part of how they perceive me) for always having to be right about everything.
There were two reasons that I hated being wrong. The first was that I’m competitive. I like winning. And being wrong felt like losing. (It’s not.)
The second reason, and this is likely the bigger one, is that I connected ideas, facts, beliefs, and concepts to my identity and my worth. So, if someone was trying to explain why I was wrong about this thing, I felt like they were attacking ME — that I, as a person, was “wrong.”
It is easy to connect our ideas, and the things we think we know, to our identity. I am certainly guilty of this. It is the exact reason why people avoid discussing politics and religion.
But at some point, I figured something out. Something flipped inside my brain.
First, I decided, and spent lots of time reminding myself, that my ideas are not tied to my identity. All of my ideas and beliefs are just my best guesses based on everything I know at that moment. And HOPEFULLY, that changes. If I’m doing it right, I’m constantly absorbing new information and perspectives. It’s silly to connect who I am to an idea, because more information on that idea might reveal itself that requires me to change my mind. But I won’t change my mind if I have attached that concept to my identity, which will freeze my ability to improve.
With that in mind, I realized that it’s FANTASTIC to find out you are wrong. When you discover you are wrong about something, you just got smarter. Your mind just received a software upgrade. You are better than you were before. You didn’t just learn something new. You unlearned something that was incorrect — it’s even better. These days, I am constantly seeking out and hoping to find things I might be wrong about. Because I know that every time I do, it is an enhancement, an improvement, and continual refinement.
The moment you start looking for why you are wrong, and honestly engaging people from that perspective, instead of clinging onto and defending what you think is right, you just unlocked a whole new world of potential.
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