In Praise of Being Wrong

The fear of being wrong is a monumental obstacle to learning. Herein lies the persistent inclination to keep one’s opinions to oneself for fear of being proven wrong. And here is the home of close-mindedness: the union of identity and defensiveness.

In a way, learning is what happens when you end up agreeing with people who disagree with you. Growth requires a steadfast commitment to pivot and adapt. An eagerness to learn demands the willingness to lose an argument on occasion. In fact, sometimes the best debates are the ones that are lost.

Learning requires the defeat of old ideas.

‘Being wrong’ sometimes is critically important.

So celebrate beliefs that have long revision histories. Yearn for the acute sensation of being wrong. Subject everything you believe to scrutiny, eager to discover what buckles under the pressure. Test it. And test it again. And when you can’t sustain a position any longer, revel in its demise, as you move on to critique other beliefs with newfound perspective.

‘Being wrong’ can be one of the best parts of being alive.

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