What If I’m Wrong?

J.K. Rowling wrote: “The best of us must sometimes eat our words.” As soon as we realise we’re wrong, we must ensure that the next words we utter aim to rebuild our identity, our reputation, and our relationships. For many of us, finding out that we were wrong can feel as if we have committed a crime. If not, then at least a threat to our self-identity. When that happens, we’re likely to act out in ways that undermine us even more, such as arguing, blaming others, withdrawing, or digging in our heels.

In her book, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, author Kathryn Schulz writes, “Our love of being right is best understood as our fear of being wrong.” In other words, our commitment to believing that we know exactly what’s happening and why, and what to do about it, is reinforced by us trying very, very hard not to think about this possibility: “What if I’m making a mistake?” Or perhaps, even worse, “What if I already made one?”

So, before we’re viewed as wrong and arrogant, aloof, or unaccountable, we need to get ahead of the situation. We must first talk to ourselves and with whomever we may have impacted with our decision.

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