Being Wrong

Wow, another long break.  But it’s better to post when you have something to say, rather than just post for the sake of it.  A week or so ago, a friend of mine got into a discussion in Secondlife.  The other person in the discussion was not having any of her point of view at all. This person was someone she knew, a definite intellectual and geek.

That started the problem, as she rapidly ran into a refusal to accept that any other viewpoint but his might be valid.  What could have been a discussion turned into an intellectual exercise in proving that only his viewpoint was right. Now, with geeks these arguments happen and you need only review comment threads on geek news sites to see them.  But what I think these exercises in intellectual point scoring miss, is that there is usually greater quality in being open to other view points. I honestly believe that there is far greater quality in accepting that you could be wrong and learning from that experience.

There’s a lot to be said from the notion that we learn more from failure than we do from success. This needs us to have the humility to accept that we’re wrong, then try to learn, even if it hurts. If we have the mentality of always being right, when such an opportunity for growth comes, we’re not able to take it. I have to say that I find that quite tragic, that an obsession with being right can actually cost us the chance to learn and grow.

I’d like to draw on my own experience here to try and give an example of what I mean.  When creating in Secondlife, if something you’re making doesn’t turn out right, don’t berate yourself for making a mistake, keep hold of it.  Many’s the time that I’ve made a piece of work that I was sure was a mistake. Then, one day, it turned out that the “mistake” was almost what I was looking for in another project, it just needed a little work. The lesson I drew from this is don’t be afraid to make your mistakes, you never know when the things you learn or create from being wrong will turn out to be just what you needed.

It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err. – Mahatma Gandhi.

If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek the truth, which never harmed anyone: the harm is to persist in one’s own self-deception and ignorance. – Marcus Aurelius.

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