I was just watching a recently posted TED talk – Kathryn Schultz: On being wrong – and besides being a fantastic talk about the reality of being wrong it is one more in a series of discussions about the value (and inevitability) of being wrong about things. A few great bits from this talk
There is a difference between being wrong and realizing you are wrong, being wrong is what you are before you realize you are wrong, and it feels the same as being right.
We are wrong because we all view reality a little bit differently – to quote: ”the miracle of your mind isn’t that you can see the world as it is, it’s that you can see the world as it isn’t”.
That the stuff that was cool and amazing and wonderful last year is just “eh” this year. Evidence that being wrong is just as tentative as being right.
Another talk that was recently shared with me was a High Scalability post with Josh Berkus called Scale Fail. This too underscored a similar problem – that we tend to attempt to avoid being wrong by doing what made us right in the past. What worked before isn’t necessarily what’ll work now. The talk is very entertaining and a light hearted way to talk about a really serious problem.
Being wrong isn’t really a problem. And more often than not – nobody cares when you realize you are wrong. Think about it, there are 3 types of opinions in a room for any given topic:
People who think they are right and are right
People who think they are right and are wrong
People who don’t have an opinion on the matter.
Maybe there’s a 4th type – the ones who are asleep. Which of those categories care if you are wrong when everyone realizes you are wrong?
People who think they are right and are right – they are just happy they are right.
People who think they are right and are wrong – they are just bothered they are wrong
People who don’t have an opinion on the matter – they don’t care either way.
And finally – consider that just because you are right or wrong today, does not mean that same idea will be right or wrong tomorrow. Truths are the truth until they are discovered to be false, and it happens all the time. When one truth is found wrong, another truth – previously thought to be wrong – is found right. And the cycle continues. Think of this cycle in the medical industry, in technology, and in politics.
Putting your idea out there, helping others see your view of the world, is the most important part. Whether you are right or wrong in any particular persons view is not material to the world – keep it in perspective.