I Like It When I’m Right, Except When I’m Wrong

I like being right. And I like it when the evidence proves that I am right. Except when I find out that I was, in fact, wrong. Be wary of only seeking information to confirm that you are right. Be wary of the confirmation bias.

The confirmation bias rears its hideous head when we manage to ignore evidence that we might be wrong in favor of finding evidence to prove that we are right. Even the same evidence can be interpreted in various ways to support our positions. What is fact for one person might be fiction for another, and vice versa.

We place great importance on being right, which I think blocks us from the freedom to be wrong. When we are wrong, we fail. And failure is important for success. Many great people persevere through failure before they ultimately find success. But success comes from being able to acknowledge those failures and move forward. To grow from those failures is integral to success.

The confirmation bias is insidious not only because it denies us the freedom to be wrong, but it also denies us the ability to grow as a person. It can blind us with false confidence, and deceive us into thinking that bad decisions are good decisions. The confirmation bias is powerful because we often aren’t even aware of its influence.

To fight the confirmation bias requires that we keep our minds open to the possibility that we might be wrong. It does not require that we shroud our thoughts with doubt, but we must look at information as unbiased as possible. We must let the evidence reach its own conclusions, rather than start with a conclusion and then fit the evidence to that end.

The beauty of being right is that it allows us to shine in a moment of success. So treat being wrong as one step towards being right. It is okay to be wrong as long as that error moves you down the path towards success. The only time it is wrong to be wrong is when you let it keep you in error. If you can stomach the admission of being wrong – of failing – then you can put your ego in check and truly move towards accomplishing what actually matters to you.

I like it when I’m right. Except when I’m wrong. But when I am wrong, and I grow from that error, then I am doing something right.

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