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22 January 2007

Why does it bother us so much to be told that we’re wrong?

Driving home from work today, I heard this beautiful message on the radio.
You’re wrong! Wait. Let’s try that a little less emphatically. You’re wrong. Why does it bother us so much to be told that we’re wrong? Well, at a very basic level, it bothers us because we are built to care about truth, and being wrong means we’ve missed the mark. But this really shows the problem. Most of us act as if we think our value as people hinges on showing that we already know everything.

That’s not a love of truth, that’s pride masquerading as love of truth. And surely no sin is more clever a disguise artist than pride. So what does it mean to be told we are wrong? Well, either we are or we are not. If we are not, we shouldn’t get upset. We should lovingly show the person that it is he who is mistaken. And if we are wrong, then we should gratefully express our thanks to the person for showing us how to more fully embody our professed love of truth.

The beginning of wisdom is the love of being wrong. Because if you never find out where you’re wrong, you’ll never become any smarter. And if you don’t love such discoveries, you’ll be much too slow in recognizing them.

Let me pin these words to my brain and hardwire into my heart for future reference…