It’s great to have strong convictions and believe in yourself — to a degree. But there comes a point at which people become so wedded to their ideas, that they never consider, much less admit, that they just might be wrong. I guess that’s human nature. But it’s a colossal mistake. As Mark Twain said, “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Even if you’re convinced you are making the correct choice or taking the right position on an issue, there’s always the possibility that you are wrong. Having said that, many people close their eyes, dig in their heels, and continue to march ahead with certainty.

The only thing worse than being wrong is failing to admit it.

Why It’s Hard to Admit That You Goofed

Here are 11 reasons why people fail to admit that they’re wrong. Some folks are:

  • Afraid of looking like a failure.
  • Competitive — and don’t want to admit defeat.
  • Scared that they’ll lose the confidence and trust of others.
  • Afraid of looking foolish after taking a public position.
  • Troubled they’ll lose progress by choosing to move in a new direction.
  • Afraid of looking weak — damaging their image and reputation.
  • Concerned about the level of commitment that’s already been made.
  • Afraid that bad news will be poorly received.
  • Unwilling to evaluate whether circumstances changed since a decision was made.
  • More motivated to be right than to do what’s right.
  • Always right. Their ego is bigger than the sky.

How to Get a Dose of Reality

It’s always healthy to practice some uncertainty and park your ego at the door by thinking, “Perhaps I’m wrong about this.” Here are 15 ways to get a dose of reality:

  1. Listen don’t just talk.
  2. Surround yourself with a diverse set of views and opinions.
  3. Question your assumptions and challenge your opinions.
  4. Identify whether a personal bias is clouding your judgment.
  5. Determine whether you’re evaluating all sides of an issue.
  6. Debate as if you’re right but listen in case you’re wrong
  7. Evaluate ideas based on merit rather than the status of the presenter.
  8. Assess whether an expert is really an expert after all.
  9. Consider whether you’re acting rationally or emotionally.
  10. Identify whether you’re making the right decision or the safe one.
  11. Determine whether a decision is based on sound rationale or is being swayed by groupthink.
  12. Challenge the status quo rather than be encumbered by previous decisions.
  13. Focus on the facts rather than opinion.
  14. Consider whether circumstances have changed since a decision was made.
  15. Reevaluate whether a program is delivering results as planned.

Admit You’re Wrong … It’s the Right Thing to Do

Some people don’t admit an error because it’s a blow to their ego. Others don’t admit their missteps because it’ll tarnish their image. The truth is, mistakes don’t define you…but the way you respond to them does. Sweeping wrongs under the rug or pretending they don’t exist doesn’t make you look good. When you admit a wrong, people know that you’re honest, humble, and authentic. Plus, it provides an opportunity to learn from it, make a course correction, and move on. As someone once said, “When you’re wrong, admit it. When you’re right, be quiet.” Mistakes are always forgivable. Ignoring them is not. Swallow your pride and turn a wrong into a right.

Check out Frank’s latest book, The Path to a Meaningful Life.

Do You Admit that You’re Wrong?

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Additional Reading:
Some Folks Think They’re Always Right
Is Your Confidence Turning Into Egotism?
Try to Keep Things in Perspective
Do You Have a Healthy Mindset?
How to Have a Fresh Perspective
Counterfeit Leadership
Failing Doesn’t Make You a Failure

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