For some people, saying the words, “I am wrong,” might be incredibly difficult. But for me, saying or thinking the words excite me. I am energized by learning something that contradicts what I previously thought. Is that odd to admit?
As organizational psychologist, Adam Grant said in his podcast and in his new book, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What you Don’t Know,
“In a changing world, you have to be willing and able to change your mind. Otherwise, your expertise can fail, your opinions get out of date, and your ideas fall flat.”Adam Grant
In a recent meta-analysis of 81 studies, past experience rarely affects future performance. What matters is past performance and current motivation and ability. I have found that some people do not admit they are wrong because they think it is a sign of failure. I feel like a failure if I rest on my laurels and refuse to seek out new information. Instead, I prefer to go out of my way to read research and listen to podcasts that do not necessarily support my thinking. It can be uncomfortable. But how am I to learn if I only surround myself with information that already supports my thinking?
No matter how new information informs my current thinking, those ideas are not my identity. My identity is one of constant learning and rethinking and not one of already knowing. I value curiosity and humility over conviction.
We are in a time of stark polarization in politics, education, climate…you name it and there are two opposing sides. But what if we focused our energy on being open to learning instead of proving our points? What if we all delighted in being wrong? If nothing else, wouldn’t that make us all slightly less wrong than we were before? 😊