Have you ever been wrong?
The expected answer is “Of course.”
And now comes the clincher. What do you do when you know you’re wrong?
In a talk I gave for my friends in the software industry, I prompted the prestigious audience and said, “You have to say the 3 most important words. What are they?”
And then my friend Ricky Gumaru of PMAP blurted out the 3 words, “It’s Your Fault!”
And I laughed like crazy.
Everyone wants to be right. Some people will do anything to be right, even if they’re wrong.
Why is it that being right is such a big thing with some people?
Can’t they be wrong? Can’t they be human?
Motivational speaker Brian Parsley says: “Here’s the big question: Who cares if you’re right? You teach your children from an early age to apologize when they’re wrong because it’s the right thing to do. Yet, as adults, you forget this basic principle.
I’ve seen adults make a scene in an office environment “defending their rightness.” I’m not implying you should back down from your principles, but most arguments are more about ego than facts.”
And Brian is right.
There are advantages in admitting you’re wrong.
- Strength of character.
Only secure and confident people are strong enough to admit their mistakes. Insecure people insist on being right all the time. The moment they admit their mistakes and rectify it, they learn from it and their character is built.
- Sterling reputation.
What is worth more than money? A good name. Even the Bible says that a good name is worth more than gold and silver. A damaged reputation can take years to build back if destroyed. People respect honest people who are big enough to admit their mistakes. It is a show of strength as the person exhibits a willingness to take responsibility for his actions.
- Increased Respect.
There’s a misconception that if you tell people you made a mistake they won’t trust you anymore. The opposite is the reality. People will trust you more because they know you’re willing to tell the truth whether it’s in your favor or not.
So guess what? You messed up. And now that you know the advantages in admitting you are wrong what should you do?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Admit your mistake and get over it.
The ability to admit you are mistaken is a great display of strength and character. But equally important is your ability to move on and overcome. When you try to cover it up with lame excuses or blaming others, you lose your credibility. If you make a mistake that impacts someone else in a less than favorable way, do both of you a favor by letting him or her know.
- Give people permission.
Brian Parsley says: “Most people don’t admit their mistakes because of fear. They’re afraid they won’t be forgiven. If someone admits a mistake to you, let them know it’s okay. Share with them a mistake you’ve made in the past. This one act can give your relationship a bigger boost than years of no conflict. It shows you care and allows them to be human. If you don’t think you’re going to have a long-term relationship, still give them the dignity you would want back from someone if you admitted your mistake.” So be gracious. There are 2 certainties in life. No it’s not death and taxes.
The 2 certainties in life are these:
- There is a God and
- You are not Him so be gracious.
There is no such thing as a perfect person. There are only stupid people who pretend to be perfect. Do not trust them. They are charlatans. These people should be crucified on the cross. And so get real and face the fact that you will make mistakes. It’s all a part of growing as an individual. Many of my life’s most valuable lessons come from the mistakes I have committed. And even as I learn from my own mistakes I need to be alert and learn from the mistakes of others too. Not to spite them but to learn from them.
Life is too short. You just don’t have the time to make all the mistakes you can learn from. Smart people learn from their own mistakes. Smarter people learn from the mistakes of others.