We live in a culture that is obsessed with winning. Being number one is a high pressure game. Who remembers who got the silver medal? It’s either win or die! But what if you were willing to be second? What would happen if you were willing to be wrong? Actually a whole lot of good things!
Think of how stressful it is to be perfect or first. If there are one hundred other people in the game, there is only one acceptable result if you are perfect. That’s pretty high stakes. If you’re okay with being wrong or imperfect, you have ninety-nine other ways to be okay. Which one do you think is a more peaceful way to live?
What about creativity? If you have to be right, how much creativity do you think you will generate? With no margin for error, I’d guess you’d be pretty status quo. Sounds pretty boring to me. However, if you gave yourself permission to be wrong, you could score big with a wild and risky idea that could transform an industry or even the whole world. Hair brained ideas come from the same place as revolutionary ones. Neither gets off the ground if being right is the standard for success.
In order to achieve perfection, your mind has got to be calculating, judging, and assessing things all the time. That keeps you out of the moment. It sure doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, and it keeps you from growing because you miss all the possibilities in favor of what’s already known.
But let’s think about the interpersonal side of things. Who would you rather be with? A gal who knows it all, never changes her mind, and doesn’t consider what others have to say? Or would you rather be with someone who is open to new ideas, admits that hers may not be the best, and can switch gears if presented with new data? People who are willing to be wrong tend to show their quirks and feelings. They can seem more genuine, vulnerable, and a lot more fun.
Being afraid of making mistakes comes strictly from ego. There is nothing wrong with being wrong. When you’re willing to be wrong, it shows that you are in the game and are doing something with your life. Imperfect people are just human. Being wrong doesn’t have to hurt. It can just be feedback. If you just say, “Sorry, I was wrong” that can be the end of it.