The Daily Stoic for April 25th. “There’s nothing wrong with being wrong”.
“If anyone can prove and show to me that I think and act in error, I will gladly change it—for I seek the truth, by which no one has ever been harmed. The one who is harmed is the one who abides in deceit and ignorance.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 6.21
If yesterday I was having trouble with accepting the stoic meditation of the day, “A productive use for contempt”, today’s one is a completely different story.
We live in a world where we want to be right. Always. Not only that, but we need to prove others that we are right… And they are wrong. Twitter exists basically because of that.
For most of my life, I’ve been a very stubborn person. I’ve always passionately defended my points of view. Sometimes, to the point of not listening to the opinions of others, even when I was obviously wrong.
There’s Nothing Wrong With Being Wrong
Only lately I’ve come to realize that, as there’s usually no “right”, being right is not that important. There are very very few absolute truths out there… so few you can actually count them on the fingers of one hand.
Thus, if we accept that, and acknowledge that a fact or event can be seen in a completely different light by two different people -another stoic teaching-, then we shouldn’t be afraid of listening to other opinions and even changing ours.
Usually what prevents us from doing that is pride. At least, that was my case. I had an laughable tendency of assigning “winner” and “loser” roles to the person who was “right” and “wrong” respectively. Hence, being “wrong” equalled being a loser, and nobody wants to be a loser right?
Probably, that has something to do with how we are raised. It’s a very competitive world, and we are taught to be the winners, the first of our college year, the best at work… Someone who is always right.
I am 38, and I have done lots of different things in my life. I have changed my opinion on things -some of them important- uncountable times. I am a completely different person from the one I was 5, 10, 15 years ago.
And I think that’s amazing.
I can definitely agree with today’s Daily Stoic,”There’s nothing wrong with being wrong”. We live in a society that encourages us to always be the best, smartest, fastest, most productive, richest version of ourselves. We are taught to always be right.
During the years, I’ve come to realize that there are usually no “right” or “wrong” views, only different opinions, and it’s never a sign of weakness to change yours or admit you were wrong.