Being Wrong

I recently watched this Ted Talk on being wrong.

I found it really powerful as a teacher and a learner. Why do we value being right so highly? Wouldn’t our relationships with other people be a little bit easier if we walked into conversations assuming we were probably wrong? Would that allow us to really listen to what the other person is saying, instead of trying to frame it through a lens that makes us feel “right”? Or do I have this wrong?

As teachers, we often tell our students that it is okay to be wrong – making mistakes is part of the learning process. But do we really value their wrongness? Do we celebrate their mistakes or do we quietly show them the error of their ways? What would happen if we did celebrate it – what would that look like, feel like?

But perhaps the need to be right is essential to learning. Without it, would we give up more easily and stop trying to solve the problem? Being right is a satisfying feeling; it reassures us that our world is still a place we can negotiate with some confidence, there are things we can expect and predict. Until something goes wrong…

If what Kathryn says is right and we probably spend most of our time in the wrong and just don’t know it, maybe we should all just acknowledge the likelihood that we are wrong and begin each day with a forgiving heart and an open mind.

I confess, I’m unsure. I’ve probably got it wrong.

2 Thoughts

  1. This is such a great point, “Wouldn’t our relationships with other people be a little bit easier if we walked into conversations assuming we were probably wrong? Would that allow us to really listen to what the other person is saying, instead of trying to frame it through a lens that makes us feel “right”?”

    I want to try this out. I often find myself so attached to my own rightness. Especially in a professional field when I am so busy trying to sell this vision and get this idea off the ground, that I have never thought that it could all be wrong. I agree that you are right, it will change our relationships if we assume that we could be wrong. Puts our ideas into perspective.

    On another note, would be cool to have “Wrong” week. Where we highlight all the mistake students make and celebrate their neat misses, instead of showcasing what they get right.

    Thanks for this post. Good to have you in the blogosphere, looking forward to reading more soon.

    1. Hey Jabiz,
      Wrong day sounds genius. We could use it as a way to highlight the importance of reflection. “Yes, this all went very wrong, but upon reflecting on the experience, this is what I learned…” Could be very powerful!

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