I noticed the other day, when having a conversation here that I love being wrong.
The conversation was not about anything dramatic or terribly important in the big scheme of things.
It was more “ the straw of a conversation that opened my revelation back” so to speak.
I realized that when you point something out to a person that were wrong, or if you challenge them to defend their position how defensive and unreceptive they can get.
There are a whole variety of typical responses I have seen. Most of these responses fall into at least one of these categories in my experience; many fall into several.
- Defensiveness. They try to hold their ground, make up facts to support their argument, they will try and convince you otherwise. They will never agree with you no matter what. The more you discuss the deeper their entrenchment becomes.
- Denial. They won’t accept the facts. They may argue a little but they just give up and won’t accept the mistake. They don’t agree with you but also realize they won’t change your mind.
- Blame someone else. They reach. Stretch. Anything to make them not accountable for being wrong. They just can’t accept or own their mistake.
- Immediate roll-over. No argument. Just complete acceptance without even trying to figure out who may be right or who may be wrong. No thought. No introspection. Just an agreement reflex.
- Embarrassment or in extreme cases humiliation. They become so ashamed that they are basically paralyzed.
All of these are intensified in them if I forewarned them or predicated the situation that created this “wrongness”.
After seeing this pattern (or at least noticing it) I realized that in most cases I fall into a somewhat unique category of “Thank you for pointing out my mistake”.
I really like when I make mistakes.
There are others who fall into this as well but I am convinced we are a minority here.
This may sound self-punishing but I find being wrong to be a growth opportunity. I love learning; what better to learn from than your mistakes.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are many mistakes I don’t like making. Especially those that negatively affect other people, or those I cannot undo. However, I really cherish the chance to grow.
I also know (or at least I have been told) that my presence/personality intimidates people. I find that hard to believe but I have had too many people call me out on it to ignore it.
The first time someone calls you a horse you dismiss them and/or attack them.
The second time someone calls you a horse you ponder and wonder if it’s true.
The third time, you buy a saddle.
I also know that at times I speak with “over confidence” that also does not send out a vibe that says I am receptive to be challenged.
So my guess is, as result of these characteristics/impressions, that there are many who won’t point out my mistakes or at least challenge me in areas where they think I may be wrong. They are denying me the opportunity to grow.
As many of you know, I will point out these things when I spot them in both directions. My reality winning, or theirs.
It’s not just about getting the facts straight it’s also about sharing and teaching each other how this truth came to be out of the misaligned realities.
It’s about owning your mistakes and helping others grow from theirs. I will own mine. I will go out of my way to make sure that those around me whom are right know it. I allow them to do the “I told you so” dance.
These articles I write are a perfect example of where I was wrong. I was adamant they were a waste of time. I however deferred to the group and believe it or not many people read them. The same for the new podcasts. I also did not think that they were going to get a lot of traction. After a month or so they have gotten really great traffic. They were right. I was wrong. And I made sure that they know I realized that.
In some cases its easy. Black or white.
“How does this button work” is an easy one to resolve.
The tougher ones are the subjective ones.
What looks better red or green?
What did someone mean when they said “Proposal Development is like a salad”.
When I get into these ambiguous situations, where ever I can, I defer to a group and will bring them into the dialog.
I also know there are just going to be situations where there is no “right or wrong”. We have to agree to disagree.
I know these ideas or philosophies is not new, nor did I invent them but I now “know it” from an experience point of view. Not just “know it” from an intellectual point of view.
So being wrong is my ‘spinach’. Like how Popeye uses it. It makes me stronger, and it allows me to grow. I will attempt to focus on these mistakes even more now.
Bottom line if you think I am wrong, let me know. If you opinion differs from mine, please share. I will point these out in people as I see them (drives my wife nuts in restaurants for examples) but my intentions are good even if my commentary is not solicited or wanted. I try my best not to belittle people or make them feel stupid. That would squash the invaluable feedback.
I love being wrong. My mistakes are my spinach. Feed me please.