Be More Wrong

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”

James Joyce

Sure. But let’s be honest for a second, James… isn’t being right a whole lot more delicious than being wrong?

Oh, how I love being right! You know, I really get off on it. It puts me that much closer to God’s right hand. If you could cut me open when I’m in the middle of being right, you will find my veins running rich with the warmth of smugness and self-righteousness.

It’s a feeling so delicious, in fact, that it feels in no way like the addiction it really is – no, it feels wonderful, like running a bath of dopamine.

And that’s what’s so dangerous about it. The neurochemical buzz you get from being right blinds you to reality, to what is. All you care about now is that you’re right, and that you want to stay right.

If all you care about is being right, you are going to severely limit your potential as a human being. Instead of exploring the world, you care more about protecting your current position. You stagnate. You shrink. You become a husk, divorced from reality, and attached to preserving something utterly meaningless.

You don’t grow from being right… ever. You only grow from being wrong – from making an incorrect assumption about reality, being shown the error of your ways, and then correcting course. The more often you can prove yourself wrong – and survive – the truer your perception of reality becomes.

Yes, it’s a paradox. The way to be as right as possible in the long-run is to be wrong as often as possible in the short-run.

Stop trying to prove yourself right. Prove yourself wrong instead. What could be more fun?

“If you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You are doing things you have never done before, and more importantly, you are doing something.”

Neil Gaiman

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