“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 you’re a seeker of truth, then it’s important to understand that being wrong is part of that process. You will often be proved wrong, and that’s not something to hide from. It’s something to embrace and welcome, as you proceed along your life’s journey toward a better understanding of yourself. Learning comes from humility, and that means accepting that you’re not always right. That is the crux of the wisdom presented today in The Daily Stoic book.
Trying to avoid acknowledging that we’re wrong, or clinging to incorrect beliefs, is a form of self-deceit which is very dangerous. We do this out of pride, or fear of being seen as weak. Ironically, accepting that our beliefs need updating is actually a sign of strength!
The book’s author, Ryan Holiday, points out in today’s chapter that we shouldn’t be embarrassed or afraid to change our minds. In fact, that’s evidence that we’re growing and learning — it would actually be more shameful if we didn’t ever change our minds, as that would be evidence that we’d become brittle and incapable of mental growth.
We have to put our impressions to the test, and if they don’t pass the test, then we have to update our mode of thinking about them. It may be that our first impressions or judgments were incorrect — and it takes a bigger person to accept that, than to deny it. It’s okay to be wrong.
Finally, if we have been proven wrong, then we have to change the way we’re behaving and acting as a result of this new information. We have to adapt based on the new truth — if our old strategy hasn’t been bearing fruit because of an incorrect perspective, then we need to adjust our approach. As we all know, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Changing course will help us overcome our obstacles.