Why Being Wrong is Good

Why Being Wrong is Good

You are partly wrong. You are partly right. Context influences your perspective and that of others. By listening to many points of view, you stand to gain a deeper understanding.

Humans have a tendency to pay attention to ideas that support what they already believe. It’s called the confirmation bias.

Charlie Munger, says that he “never takes a stance on anything unless he can argue the other side better than the other person.” That means he’s looked at the issue from a variety of different perspectives and understands it well.

Have you been in a situation where you argued about something you believed in, but the opposing point of view, was a complete unknown to you? This lack of acceptance that other perspectives exist, keeps you from seeing other explanations and possibilities. It also prevents you from learning.

After developing his theory of evolution, Charles Darwin shared it only with a few close friends; he was afraid of how it would be received.* During this time, he thought about all the things that would be questioned and challenged in his work. Darwin searched for disconfirming evidence and then prepared responses and explanations for each one. It took Darwin over twenty years to finally release his theory to the public and by that time he was prepared for the criticism he’d receive.

People who work in sales have scripts with responses to people’s objections. This increases their chances of closing a sale. A good salesperson will be able to continue a conversation with a customer, despite all their objections, and eventually convince them to buy. They do this by preparing responses beforehand to all the possible objections. To understand what those objections are, you must consider other perspectives, especially those that disagree with yours.

Paul Arden puts this in an interesting way in, It’s right to be wrong,

“Start being wrong and suddenly anything is possible.

You’re no longer trying to be infallible.

You’re in the unknown. There’s no way of knowing what can happen, but there’s more chance of it being amazing than if you try to be right.

Of course, being wrong is a risk…

Risks are a measure of people. People who won’t take them are trying to preserve what they have. People who do take them often end up by having more.

Some risks have a future and some people call them wrong. But being right may be like walking backwards proving where you’ve been.” *

Things to try:

  • Argue the other person’s point of view. Try this when you’re in a conflict.
  • Come up with different perspectives, research evidence for them, and be able to argue them.
  • Always consider the opposing viewpoint and study it. What can you learn from it? Does it help prove or disprove your beliefs? What did you learn that you didn’t know before?
  • Consider all the possible objections and then come up with responses for them.
  • Learn from your enemies. Get their opinion. You may learn something about them, or yourself that you didn’t know.
  • Question everything you believe. Ask yourself why you believe that and what evidence you have. Is it true?
  • Understand what people think and why they think that.
  • Be curious and willing to challenge yourself. Be flexible in your thinking.

 

  • Try using Byron Katie´s questions: *

1- Is it true?

2- Can you know that it is absolutely true?

3- How do you react when you think this way?

4- What would life be like, if you didn’t have this thought?

Curiosity Matters and here’s why

Curiosity Matters and here’s why

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”   

-Albert Einstein

 

Our desire to know makes us curious and this leads us to ask questions, look for answers, and move forward. Questions create more questions and it becomes a never ending cycle of discovery.

Curiosity helps us to gather knowledge. The more we gather, the better prepared we are to adjust to changing circumstances. We can’t adapt, if we don’t know what we’re adapting to.

If you’ve ever asked why something is the way it is, how things work or what this means, that is your curiosity at work. The space between knowing something and not knowing, forms the curiosity gap. Humans have a built in desire to fill this gap.

By asking questions, we come to understand ourselves and other people. We see a clearer picture of what is around us. Questions lead to better thinking. Many times we fear questioning. In school, we worry the other kids will laugh at us. Teachers sometimes discourage questions and we end up accepting and not questioning what they say. Let go of the fear of being laughed at and called a fool. Question your teachers, your parents, your friends, everyone you meet. Do it from a place of wanting to learn. The more curious you become, the less bored you’ll be. Curious people keep themselves busy; wanting to know more about the world around them. This is what drives progress in all fields.

According to Ian Leslie in his book, Curious,* there are two kinds of curiosity; diversive and epistemic.

Diversive is the kind of curiosity that seeks excitement and novelty. It’s what keeps you scrolling through your social media feed non-stop into the night. You’re looking for anything entertaining. Epistemic curiosity seeks to go deeper into an area to learn something new. You see an interesting article, you read it, then search more on the topic, and go deeper. Learn to use both types to your benefit.

As we age, we lose our curiosity. The way our parents respond to our constant questioning plays a big part in how curious we continue to be, through adolescence and as adults. If our parents tend to ignore our questions and don’t inspire us to keep questioning, eventually, we stop asking. If parents answer questions, they provide incentives for more questions and fuel curiosity. If parents answer questions with more questions, it pushes children to come up with their own answers and think for themselves.

Curiosity helps in keeping us from thinking we have all the answers and already know everything. It keeps us open to different perspectives of seeing the world. In this way curiosity helps to develop two other qualities; open-mindedness and humility.

Open mindedness will keep your eyes open and your ears too. It will remind you that what we know individually, is insignificant compared to what we all know as a whole. That is also small, compared to all the things we still don’t know. Accept that you don’t have all the answers and neither does anyone else. You’ll have to learn from many sources. Even then, you still won’t know that much. That, should keep you humble.

Isidor Rabi won the Nobel Prize in physics, in 1944.

He was once asked,*

”Why did you become a scientist, rather than a doctor or lawyer, like the other kids in your neighborhood?”

Rabi answered, ”my mother made me a scientist. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: ‘So? Did you learn anything today?’ Not my mother. She always asked me a different question. ‘Izzy,’ she would say, ‘did you ask a good question today?’ That difference made me a scientist.” 

You will find questions all over this book. They are meant to inspire you to think and search for answers which will lead you to ask more questions. That will push you to keep expanding as a person and always find something to be fascinated about. Even more important, it will keep you open to all the possibilities you haven’t considered.

Things to try:

  • To keep yourself curious, ask questions and think of your own answers. Try explaining things to yourself first.
  • Search for answers. Go to the library, search the internet, ask people. Ask everyone you know.
  • Never stop questioning!
  • Use diversive curiosity to find interesting things and then use epistemic curiosity to dig deeper.
  • If you don’t know, ask. It’s better to not know and find out, than to pretend to know and stay ignorant. Be humble, ask, and stretch your mind.
  • Ask why three times.
  • Ask why not, what, what if, where, when, who, how.

QUESTIONS

  • What good questions did you ask today?
  • What are you curious about and how can you learn more about it?
  • Why are you curious about that?
  • Who could this help?
  • Are you curious enough?

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