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How to be wrong, with more ease.

ajqtrz

Well-Known Member
[LONG POST. If you are tempted to do the TLDR (Too Long didn't Read) and then post some kind of critique, please don't. Thanks.]

How To Be Wrong, With More Ease

Nobody likes being wrong. Thus, in tense situations, barriers and sometimes blinders go up and that's that. No more temptation to believe you are wrong. However, in the long run, being resistant to being wrong is dangerous and growth restricting. Not being able to freely admit that your thinking has been in error is a serious limiter of what you can discover. And the more you admit you are wrong, the more you know! In other words, the ability to admit you are wrong means you will be right more often in the future. So here's some things I've learned in my I attempt to not be so afraid of admitting I've been wrong.

1) Never admit you are wrong unless you actually have been persuaded that you are wrong. Sounds counter-intuitive but admitting you are wrong when you don't really believe it is just pandering to the crowd. It's saving face and letting the untruths keep on propagating. Nobody wins in that situation.

2) Start therefore, by openly admitting the good points of the other side. Ponder them and admit they are good. That doesn't mean you are admitting you are wrong, but it means you are now focused on the reasoning/evidence, instead of how you feel about that reasoning/evidence.

3) Realize the argument is not about you, your ego, your stance in the social order, but about the subject at hand. Too often your opponents want to make it about you, and that is not a good thing. Try to ignore all those sometimes subtle digs and stick to the subject. Sadly, it will often drive your interlocutors to renew their attacks, but those who can be persuaded will notice the contrast and consider you calmer manner a point in your positions favor. Most people intuitively know that when an argument devolves into name calling and that sort of thing, it's because the one doing the name calling has run out of arguments for his/her position but doesn't wish to admit that "maybe I'm wrong."

4) Your favorite words in any discussion should be the first words you utter, at least to yourself, "I could be wrong." By reminding yourself that you could, in fact, be wrong, you start off with some humility.

5) Don't become the spokesman for the position you take without having done your homework. Too often we spout our opinions before we've engaged our brains and then, if we are suddenly the one doing all the talking for our side, our social status as the "spokesperson" gets wrapped up in the argument and we feel we have to "fight on" on behalf of all those people who are letting us lead the way. This is the cause of so many arguments continuing for years and years. I know of several positions that are so obviously wrong but which still have, after decades of discussion, adherents. (Almost always these adherents cling to the position because they make a living doing so!)

6) Let's face it. You will be wrong many, many times, in your life. Get used to it. Usually people have a hard time admitting they have been wrong exactly because they think they "can't" or "shouldn't" be wrong, like it's some kind of moral code. The only time you should be ashamed of being wrong is when you are wrong and are unwilling to admit it! Being wrong is a natural and human experience.

7) Realize that admitting when you are wrong actually enhances your influence, not lowers it. If you think about it, if you refuse to admit you are wrong others will eventually figure out your arguments aren't as strong as you want them to believe. If you are then stubborn about admitting your mistakes, later, when you insist you are right, they will know that there is a possibility you are just being stubborn! That undermines your credibility. But being willing to say, "I stand corrected" means that you reinforce peoples belief in your honesty.

In the end then, saying, "I'm wrong," isn't pleasant but it does allow everyone to get closer to whatever truth is being sought, and it enhances your own growth as an individual and as a leader.

But of course, I could be wrong about all of this, couldn't I?

AJ
 
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ajqtrz

Well-Known Member
TL;DR

The best and easiest way to be wrong is to keep your mouth shut about it.
Not sure what you mean by "it." If you mean keep your mouth shut about being wrong, that doesn't make you right, all it does is hide that you were wrong. If you meant by "it," the subject of being wrong -- the subject of the essay -- I'm not sure how it applies.

Sorry if I'm being dense.

AJ
 

Eudaemonia

Well-Known Member
TL;DR

The best and easiest way to be wrong is to keep your mouth shut about it.
Maybe the least painful but not the best. Perhaps if we admitted when we're wrong more often then we'd feel less shame as it becomes normalised. If we lose our fear of being shamed then we'll be less defensive of our position and more open to different perspectives.
 

ed1960

Well-Known Member
Aj, I did read it and I can say well thought out and presented. One thing I have always felt is that being wrong just gives you room to grow, and that wrong is not bad, but an opportunity.
 

ajqtrz

Well-Known Member
@Eudaemonia On the other hand, you are less likely to influence other people with your wrongness if you keep your mouth shut.
That's certainly true, but if you know you are wrong then why would you speak at all? And if you know you are wrong, chances are you know the right answer, or at least the better one and in speaking wouldn't you put forth that answer instead?

AJ