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03/27/2019

Why I love being wrong

Written by Ashley

I’ve been fascinated by science, math, engineering, and technology since I was a young boy.

One of the most important parts of science is the scientific method. The scientific method is about whether you can prove yourself wrong. When someone comes up with a scientific idea, the only way to test it is to try to falsify the idea. If the idea is not falsifiable, it’s not scientifically provable either. Scientists love being wrong, because that’s how knowledge advances.

The scientific method wants you to be wrong

Most people hate being wrong. I have bad news for those people. If you hate being wrong, it’s likely you’ll be wrong a lot more often than you will be right.

You should love proving yourself wrong. Search for information that disconfirms your beliefs. Don’t search for information that confirms beliefs I already have. That’s called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the exact opposite of the scientific method. It guarantees you’ll be wrong more than right, and it guarantees you won’t grow and improve. Instead, with the scientific method, you have a built-in mental model for avoiding confirmation bias because you are intentionally looking for reasons why you are wrong

Currently, I think our country has a huge problem with people not wanting to be wrong. One of the problems we have right now is that everyone is so sure of their opinions.  They don’t want to listen to what anyone else says, and in fact, when they learn that they’re wrong, they tend to double down on their position. This shuts down critical thought because their brain simply cannot admit they’re wrong.

Life is about mistakes and changing your mind is okay

The only way to grow is to make mistakes. Making mistakes about the way you look at the world, and correcting for those mistakes, is how you grow as a human being.  You cannot grow as a human being if you’re not willing to change your opinions.  In fact, if you’re not willing to change your opinions, even the most important things in your life, then you’re not growing, you’re dying.

By contrast, if you’re willing to change your mind about beliefs, even your most deeply held and cherished beliefs, then you are almost guaranteed to continue to grow.  Mistakes are growth opportunities.  And the only way you can make mistakes is to be wrong!

So as you look at your social media feeds, read newspapers or watch TV, instead of trying to figure out why you’re always right, try to figure out where your beliefs are wrong.  That’s the best way to grow. It’s super exciting to learn that you are wrong so you can make corrections and be more right in the future, and it’s a lot of fun too.

Sign up for Brian’s newsletter to read more of his life tips and motivation.

Ashley

03/27/2019

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