So you told someone that Spain was definitely going to win the 2014 world cup. And you turned out to be wrong. Or you told your parents that you’re going to be just fine without a college education. But you ended up having to go back to their home 10 years later ’cause you couldn’t hold down a decent job or keep up with the bills. Wrong again. I’m sure I won’t be alone in saying moments like these, where I’m so brutally wrong, just make me feel ashamed, embarrassed and disappointed in myself. And most of the time, I have no idea how to face the people telling me the “you were wrong”.
If only there was an art to being wrong…
Imagine how strong you will seem if you could be wrong with grace, if you can say, “I’m sorry” without a struggle. You would be invincible! While other people have their self-esteem and their egos crushed when they’re wrong, while they have to desperately try to save their faces by blaming their wrongness on other people, you would stay strong and confident in your mistake. No one will be able to make you feel inferior by showing you how wrong you were. In that regard, you will be bulletproof, truly invincible. And everybody will admire you for having such a rare trait!
So how do you learn to be wrong?
It all starts before you make your mistake, long before anyone has the right to tell you, “I told you so”. Here’s the secret: Learn to share your thoughts and ideas in such a way that people come to think that your ideas are their own. Get people to agree with you and to see things your way.
Instead of saying, “Spain is going to win this year,” you state your idea saying: “Have you seen how much Spain has improved from the last world cup? I think they have a really strong set of 11 this time, don’t you think? And I don’t know if it’s just me, but all the other teams seem like they’re slacking a little. I mean Ronaldo missed half the possible goals in the last game and Messi was injured for half the season. Spain is looking pretty strong. I might not be a big fan, but we have to see the facts as they are right? Otherwise, we’re lying to ourselves right? I see them holding the cup after the finals. That’s just the most logical way of thinking…”
You see how the person listening to you has to either agree with you or admit that he or she is lying to him or herself? You’re making them see things your way.
And when you get people to agree with you like this, you know what happens when you’re wrong? They don’t judge you, because they believe that they’re the ones that are wrong. It was, after all, their idea too right? They agreed with you. So if you’re wrong, then they’re wrong too.
But what if you never got to share your ideas with someone, yet they have to witness you being wrong? Like your parents neighbor who’s asking you why you never went to college. In that case, you’re challenge will be to get them to think like you thought when you decided you’d rather not waste four years for one paper. Something along the lines of, “Do you like freedom? I think part of freedom is not having to spend your entire adult life chained in student debt…”
And if you ever have to say “I’m sorry” to someone and you would like to make those two words easier to say, precede them by explaining the thoughts that led you to your being wrong. Try to make your listener see things the way you saw them. And by the time you get to saying, “I’m sorry,” they would feel it’s almost unnecessary for you to apologize.
Cheers to life!