Are You Right When You Admit You’re Wrong?

ARE all children above average?

Are you ever wrong and have a “hard-time” admitting it? If you answered yes to the previous question, then why do you have such a difficult time? Is it normal to not ever be wrong? Of course not. Is it normal to not ever be right? Of course not. Is it normal to be normal? Of course! :-)

Thomas Edison - He made 1000 mistakes before he invented a "correct" light bulb.

Ok, so why do we have such a difficult time admitting we’re wrong? We all make mistakes, no matter what some people would like for us to believe. Is it true that most successful people are more likely to be wrong, now and then, due to their ability of not being afraid to take risks? Great inventors, explorers, scientists, composers, etc. have made many mistakes, or “wrongs,” before they finally experienced success or “a right.” No one, necessarily, enjoys being wrong or making a mistake. Having stated that, since no one is perfect, a mistake is inevitable.

Everyone, no matter what anyone tries to make you believe, is wrong from time to time. Being wrong, if you aren’t careful, can affect how you feel about yourself. It’s important to realize that being “wrong” and “right” are both normal everyday occurrences for humans.

I think if you have a difficult time admitting you’re wrong, there’s a good chance you’re struggling with a self-esteem problem. Perhaps, the problem is you’re uncertain about your self-worth which leads you to low self-esteem. You are lacking in confidence and satisfaction regarding yourself. Ouch! Perhaps, this is why we find children not owning up to their mistakes. Consider the following quote from Richard Paul, a critical thinking expert, regarding self-esteem: “Healthy self-esteem emerges from a justified sense of self-worth, just as self-worth emerges from competence, ability, and genuine success. If one simply feels good about oneself for no good reason, then one is either arrogant (which is surely not desirable) or, alternatively, has a dangerous sense of misplaced confidence.”

Garrison Keillor - "All the children, in Lake Wobegon, are above average."

The young minds of children feel their self-worth depends upon their self-esteem which, in turn, depends upon being right. They, as young and inexperienced people, don’t have the experience of life to judge what is and isn’t normal. Hummmmm…. I guess that is what Garrison Keillor meant when he proclaimed, as part of his Lake Wobegon effect, that “all the children are above average.” :-)

Perhaps, the main problem with admitting you’re wrong is a lack of humility. When you make a mistake, admitting you’re wrong and not allowing your pride to lower your self-esteem, are the two key factors in dealing with the “wrong” or mistake. This is not as hard as many think it is. Simply admit the mistake by saying something like, “I admit I’m wrong and I thank you for correcting me.” Or. how about, “You’re right, I was wrong. I’m going to learn from this mistake!”

When you readily admit your mistakes, you are proclaiming to the world you are a normal and imperfect person. When you do this, you give others the opportunity and permission to do the same. In fact, this so-called weakness of “imperfection of being wrong” can actually become enduring qualities of humility, dignity and lovableness.

When we openly admit we are wrong, we are doing the right thing – which is always more important than being right. RIGHT! :-)

2 Comments on “Are You Right When You Admit You’re Wrong?”

  1. Very well written Ron! (But secretly, I love it when Rich is wrong and of course I have to say, “Told you so!”) Have a great day!


  2. Thanks for the comment, Lola. It’s nice “hearing” from you. I know what you mean regarding Rich and how you love it when he’s wrong. I remember in college when he was very seldom wrong, especially in the math class. When he was AND I was right, I at least said, “I told you so!” under my breath. :-)


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