Why I try to prove myself wrong
Why I try to prove myself wrong
Our biggest errors in making decisions often occur when we believe we are correct about the facts or information around a subject but in fact we were wrong.
It’s true that you cannot go on second guessing yourself forever and sometimes decisions have to be made with the information that’s available to hand. In most cases however and certainly for longer term goals and strategies it pays huge dividends to double check your information or get expert help from a variety of sources.
A good way of thinking about it is to set a system in place to double check your information and the strategies that are driven as a result of that information.
“In other words when I’m certain that I’m right about something, I will try to prove myself wrong.”
Trying to prove myself wrong is the best way I know of to improve my education around a subject which will then drive my strategies and actions. However it flies in the face of how we are raised and rewarded. Usually, you are rewarded for the “right answer” in a world of education where there is a perceived right answer. So we are subconsciously raised to believe there is one right answer. This also falls right into our preferred method of thinking which is to seek easy answers as anything else raises uncertainty and then takes too much time and effort to resolve.
We tend to skim information and accept what we read and hear at face value. For instance -almost everybody will judge other people diets believing they are healthy on not, based on superficial information and education. Unless you have done at least one thousand hours study and in depth research into an effective human diet or any other complicated subject you have almost no expertise – so presume you are wrong.
There also exists the problem of confirmation bias, which leads us simply to seek out information and facts which support the decisions (often irrational and emotional) we have already made. This effect is even stronger in emotionally charged issues when ambiguous information is used for supporting evidence. It is often easier to try to prove someone else wrong than make the effort to get more educated ourselves.
“When we are open to the possibility of being wrong, we gain knowledge which will help guide our strategies and decisions.”
Even when trying to build your knowledge, you have to be careful about people’s opinions as everyone has some sort of agenda, which while it might be well intentioned, may also be as a result of their own confirmation bias. Most documentaries, magazine articles or blog posts will be written by someone with an agenda and it’s not difficult to research any subject and find a different point of view on the same topic.
However, in big life changing decisions like your diet, exercise program, career or finances it is certainly worth the time to make an educated decision as possible. Trying to prove yourself wrong is an effective strategy as this route usually leads you to find out that the issues involved are much more complex that you originally thought and the world is rarely black and white. You have probably studied your career for over 1000 hours but can you say the same about diet, exercise and financial well being?
We need to start off believing we are right but then really make the effort to prove ourselves wrong and seek out information that flies in the face of our beliefs. When we are open to the possibility of being wrong, we gain knowledge which will help guide our strategies and decisions.
Other than the time and effort it takes to more fully and deeply explore any subject that could lead to big decisions there is little to lose and much to gain.
- You gain knowledge
- You gain balance and empathy with other people’s points of view
- You gain better strategies and decisions
Simply put in taking the time and effort to prove yourself wrong – you gain.
Enjoy the journey
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