Floating amidst all the daily admonitions and ideas about how to be better at life, business, and do no harm in a world where it seems every comment is designed to do just that, I came across the words from someone calling themselves a “life expert” that, in my mind, revealed very little expertise.
Following his promo line in a LinkedIn post, the hashtag was “never be wrong again”.
As first thoughts are usually always the correct one, the response in my brain was, “what’s so wrong about being wrong?”
The line about “never be wrong again” is nothing more than a good marketing tool. It’s designed to promote someone as an expert who will teach you how to never again make an incorrect statement, never again fall on your face, never again find yourself wailing in the moment of having erred in judgement.
It’s called “being human”.
We are never truly as smart as we believe we are. No matter the amount of discipline we force upon ourselves, we are constantly learning whether we like it or not. More often than not, we learn by mistakes.
I certainly have, and will be first to admit. That is certainly not a scarlet letter, nor should it he. History teaches us there is no greater learning tool than admitting a mistake.
Mistakes generally come forth from trying new ideas, taking chances, putting something out there that is so outrageous there is no possibility it could ever succeed!
Yet, we try anyway. The human spirit tells us that we must. Even if the moment we begin, there is that nagging scream in the back of the head telling us there is no way it could flourish, we are still driven to try.
We fail. We pick ourselves back up. We scrape away the dirt and try again. The second, third, fourth, 90th time we try, that voice still dogs us that no matter what we do, we will fail.
Then, the 91st time.
Imagine if we had listened to that whiny voice after the first attempt. Think about the achievement that likely would have been lost.
Achievement that arrived only by failing.
Am I the only one to admit that I fail at something every day, that I am wrong? I certainly hope not. Imagine the wonders that would never be because you failed to admit a gaffe, and used that to push forward.
Failing is necessary. Failing leads us to better understand who we are and what we can accomplish. Failing is what, in the end, makes us great.
Certainly, not everyone will fail and be able to pick themselves up. In my presentation to certain groups, I tell some very personal stories about these moments. Often, those stories bring me to an internal rage, angry at myself for not heeding the lessons and then putting them to use in the only life I have.
Understand, you will be wrong today. And tomorrow. And even the next day. Certainly, you will have plenty of “correct” moments. However, in those moments of being wrong, making a mistake, you must LEARN from those mistakes and those moments being wrong.
They are the instances that will make you a better person.
Be wary of someone who promises they can teach you a method to “never be wrong again”.
It’s bad and misleading advice. It’s a marketing ploy, a throw away line. While there are moments you’ll nail it and be proud of yourself for being correct, the next misstep is right around the corner. You will be better for having experienced it.
No one is perfect, of course. Striving to be such is a lofty goal. It’s the journey that gets us there. In that journey, you will be wrong more often than you are right.
In any form, fools gold never shines as bright as the reward so well learned. Even if it’s not easy, and taxes your ability to understand.
Now, go out and be wrong. It’s the path to greatness.