Saturday, November 12, 2016


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:
  1. Bigfoot. (Still waiting.)
  2. Parenting.
  3. Election outcomes.
  4. How to peel a banana. (Start at the bottom, not the top.)
  5. Almost everything I’ve tried to do right.
  6. Decisions.
  7. People.
  8. Life.
  9. Mullets.
  10. 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.)


jenny_o said...

I'm wrong so much I've pretty much gotten used to it. If I'd just learn to shut my mouth when I'm not sure ...

CLR said...

Making sense - one post at a time.

Vinny C said...

I had a habit of approaching every situation assuming the other person involved knew more than me so, for fear of being wrong, I kept quiet. I missed on a lot of opportunities to contribute & have my say when I wasn't actually as far off the mark as I thought I was.

Anonymous said...

Can I tell you something? Well I'm writing this, so I guess I'm not waiting for an answer to that question, but you're wrong about being wrong about peeling a banana? It may be easier to peel a banana from the nubby end, but if you peel it from the other end, and it works, how is that wrong? And what determines the top or bottom? I know what you meant, but if you're opening it from a certain end, isn't that by default the top? Sorry, I'm wrong for correcting you, I've just grown weary with internet telling me I'm eating things incorrectly. If I eat it, don't choke, then poop it out, then, by definition, aren't I eating it right?

dbs said...

Haha. Ya, you're probably right.

incognito said...

Sometimes we are right about being right, but wish we were wrong. I like bananas, except when they don't act like a proper banana.

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