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The benefits of being wrong

The benefits of being wrong

Most of us will grow old, but not many of us will become mature.

When my wife and I first got married it was a bit of a shock to realise that we did not agree on everything. In addition, when there was a disagreement it became an issue. Somehow for both of us, disagreement was a problem. It took as a number of years to sit down and decide that if we disagreed, we would not make it an issue or a problem. The change was drastic. Suddenly, if we disagreed, then we had a disagreement, but we did not have a problem.

The root of disagreement is right or wrong

The world is becoming more and more polarised. At the same time, we are becoming less and less tolerant. It used to be that when we disagreed we would walk away. Now we cancel or kill the other person. Whatever the reasons behind the change, whether deliberate or not, they have a substantial impact on our health and well-being.

Is it wrong to be wrong?

One of the most-used phrases we hear these days is: “Follow the science.” In the context of the past 3,000 years, this is not good advice. The history of science is that we make suppositions and then test them to see if they are true. Especially in the beginning phases, there have been more incorrect suppositions than correct ones. In other words, historically, science has been more wrong than it has been right. 50 years ago smoking was good for you. Edison made a supposition about how a lightbulb could work over a thousand times, and was only right once. However, if we had not supposed, then tested, even if the supposition was proved to be wrong, we would never have progressed to where we are today.

Right or wrong are games we play in the playground of “knowledge”. I think there is a correlation between polarisation, intolerance, and our increase in knowledge. The more we learn, the more right we think we are. Knowledge, however, is not wisdom. Wisdom is a fruit of making mistakes and learning from them. Wisdom is the product of paying the price for making bad decisions. Wisdom is the fruit of suffering. Wisdom of the fruit of being wrong.

We can gain knowledge without suffering, but we cannot gain wisdom without suffering. We can increase our knowledge without suffering, but we cannot mature without suffering.

I present online workshops on understanding, managing and resolving conflict. I have coined the phrase: Nos omnes, decepti – sed alta variat, which means: We are all deceived – it is only the depth that differs. It is not possible to resolve conflict if we do not acknowledge that the starting place is not right or wrong, but that we are all deceived. The more mature we are, the less deceived we are. The root of is disagreement is right or wrong, but the root of “right or wrong” is immaturity. The immature focus on right and wrong, but the mature focus on good and kind. On levels of maturity, the least mature person is the one who is wrong but is completely convinced that they are right. The journey of maturity is a journey of discovering how wrong I was.

That is the benefit.

CLICK HERE to see my new book – Think like a leader.

Written by Doug Johnson

Published on 17th Jan 2022

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