We are now living in a world where mistakes are on record for ever through the wonderful gift of social media. Tweets from years gone by have been unearthed and have ended careers. Indiscretions from years ago have shamed people, and let’s be honest, politicians have had their flopping from one opinion to whatever the new public opinion is, highlighted in every election. So how do we break this cycle?
Well, I believe we can do this by adjusting our sights. In a social media discussion in which two people were talking about religion, one of the people shared something they agreed with. The thing they shared was nearly accurate (as is much of the clickbait shared on social media), but there was one very small area where they were wrong, and this one small error had a massive impact on the context of what they were saying. The second person pointed this out, gave some stats and facts, and apparently thought that would be the end of the matter.
They were wrong… The response back was “You just have to be right, don’t you?”
I thought on this for a while and how it relates to me and my own thoughts, and you know what I discovered? Yes. I do have to be right, and I am not sure where the shame is in that. But here’s the kicker, and this is an important part: If we feel the need to be right, surely we should have a desire to actually be right, which doesn’t mean digging our heels in, it means investigating and researching. If we are wrong wouldn’t we want to know about it so we can learn and grow? Given the choice between being right or wrong, why would anyone choose to be wrong?
With all this said, the problem isn’t necessarily making mistakes (which we all do), and it isn’t even that we have to be right. The real problem is that we make mistakes, and not only do we have a tendency towards not correcting them, we actually attack others who point them out. The result of which can be seen in the endless, and pointless, political game of “whataboutery” that we are currently playing.
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – There is nothing wrong with being right. Don’t let anyone every tell you otherwise.
2 – You don’t have to be right, but if you do, make sure that you are right. If you aren’t sure, go study. If you are sure, go study.
3 – Don’t defend being wrong or being challenged with whataboutery. Thank the person for bringing new ideas, then go learn.
It’s not easy to admit we are wrong. It sucks. But that’s OK. Any time we have to change our position, learn new ideas, or admit we may have flaws in our worldview it is difficult, but that doesn’t mean we should simply double down. Learn, grow, and allow yourself to be challenged, it’s a lot less stressful to be open to a challenge and learn than it is to perform the mental gymnastics of defending an indefensible position.
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