For most of us, I would believe that we have this instinctual desire to be right, and to be right all the time. Wouldn’t it be great if we always had the right thing to say at the right time? Wouldn’t it be great if one had an answer to every question possible, just like Google?

This would only be possible in a utopian world, in which a person with these abilities would be inclined to being narcissistically arrogant. Throughout our life, we can probably think of a person that has an attitude of a ‘know it all’ – and it isn’t a pleasant experience being around them.

I used to be that person.

In human relationships, being right often does not provide much in arriving at a mutual consensus. Rather, it does the opposite – it polarises one party with the other, of which one party is shamed and the other stands proudly righteous. More often than not, being in the right tears relationships apart. One may win an argument, but is it worth costing the friendship? There is nothing to be gained by asserting that one is in the right, other than the satisfaction that one is right.

On the contrary, there is every benefit to be gained when we are in the wrong. Admitting that we are wrong helps us to exercise humility, and put away our egos. Every occasion that we are wrong – presents a learning opportunity to change our mind and learn. To evolve. To think with a fresh and better perspective.

To really grow as a person, we should thus seek opportunities for which we may be wrong. This may seem quite counter-intuitive at first. For example, let’s say you have a disagreement with someone about a particular political issue – such as American gun laws. We should hear the other’s arguments in full and really try to understand from their point of view as to why gun laws are/are not beneficial, even though it may go against our conscience. If we really take the time to analyse why we disagree with something, there would be two possible outcomes:

  1. We are further convinced of our initial position, and now have a more corroborated defence.
  2. We change our mind because it is the superior option.

We can only win in this scenario. In society today, there seems to be much aversion to changing our minds on a particular issue. Politicians tend to get a lot of smack when they change parties, for example. Changing one’s mind breeds the idea of disloyalty. However, if we arrive at an objectively better position than before, there is no reason not to change our minds. We are by nature fallible beings, so it is only inevitable that we will change our minds.

Thus, a fair assumption that we should make is that we may be wrong in every circumstance. If we come with this assumption in any situation, the other party may reciprocate this mindset as well, and mutual growth can occur. Alongside this, we should seek opportunities for which we may be wrong, so that we can grow and learn. Especially if the benefits outweigh the costs of being wrong. We should read articles and books we disagree with, talk to people we don’t initially like, put our hand up in class even if we may be wrong, and listen carefully to the opposition. There is little to be gained by asserting that we are right, but so much to learn when we admit we are wrong. When we realise that being wrong isn’t actually so bad, we have found the key that unlocks a closed mindset into an open one – ultimately accelerating our growth.