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?

Making decisions

Making decisions

“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”

-Thomas Sowell

 

What you want is waiting for you. You have to decide to go and get it. It’s easier to make a decision when we’re clear on our purpose. It may be as simple as asking whether this decision is taking me closer or further from what I want.

Other times, it’s not as simple.

Decide what you want. If you change your mind along the way, that’s fine. Making the choice to go one direction, beats waiting for the right moment, the right circumstances, or more information, to make the right decision.

The one who wins, is the one that can take any circumstances they are dealt and still play a great game.

Here are some reasons we make bad decisions:

  • We don’t have experience to draw from in the situation.
  • We have an immediate pay off that is positive and overlook the long term effects which are negative.
  • We don’t consider the consequences of what we decide.
  • We don’t know ourselves well enough. We don’t know our strengths, weaknesses, we have no clear purpose.
  • We are blind to our own biases and have few tools to approach different problems.
  • We don’t consider different options.
  • We don’t understand certainty, uncertainty, risk, reward, opportunity cost, and probability.

Here is what we can do about the above:

  • Study and learn from history about what works and what doesn’t. Read biographies of people who have gone through similar situations or who have achieved what you want and learn how they did it. Deconstruct people into strong skills they possess. Work on developing those skills. Stay curious and constantly search for ideas.
  • Consider the longer term consequences by asking “and then what” would happen if I did this? Do it a few times. Look for the potential problem areas beforehand.
  • Get to know yourself. Experiment a variety of things in life, in work, in relationships, in different environments. Travel. Then reflect on what you’ve learned about yourself through those situations.
  • Ask for feedback and different opinions from a variety of people to get more perspective.
  • Learn different ways to solve problems. Search for ideas.
  • Consider all the options you have and rate them.
  • Consider the certainty, uncertainty, risk, reward, opportunity cost, and probability in your possible choices.

In, Take the Risk,4 Dr. Ben Carson discusses four simple questions to ask yourself in order to make a decision. They are:

  • What is the best that can happen if you do this?
  • What is the best that can happen if you don’t do this?
  • What is the worst that can happen if you do this?
  • What is the worst that can happen if you don’t do this?

These questions provide a simple way to uncover and assess the pros and cons of your options.

QUESTIONS

  • What are the different outcomes and their probability of occurring?
  • What is the opportunity cost? The tradeoff you are making?
  • What is the best\ worst that can happen if I do it or if I don’t do it?
  • What are some of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make and how did I do it? What was the result of those decisions?
  • How can I improve the chance of being right in my choices?
  • What other tools can I use to make good decisions?
  • Am I being biased and is that affecting my ability to see clearly?
  • Who can provide good advice or help?

'BETTER WAYS TO LEARN'

A different approach to learning

Great! Once the book is ready, we'll send it over.

'CHALLENGE: THE COUNTER-INTUITIVE PATH TO FULFILLMENT'

A guide to appreciating adversity and building resilience

Thanks! You'll receive your Ebook shortly.

'THE ART OF MAKING GOOD DECISIONS'

A quick, easy-to-understand crash course on decision making

You're on the list. Once the book is ready we'll send it over.