Fear is a fucked up thing, in general. It stops us from saying what we want to say. It stops us from doing what we want to do. But what’s driving it? Fear of looking bad, sounding stupid, not being right? You don’t want to sound like an idiot, so don’t speak until you’re confident you’re right. You don’t want to look like a failure, so don’t act until you’re certain of success. The problem with that kind of thinking is that it's going to take you a lot longer to learn and grow.
I am wrong ALL THE TIME. But you don’t find me laboring over decisions that often. People tell me I have the tendency to over simplify things. It’s true. I admit it. I often boil things down to black and white. It either is, or it isn’t. I either like it, or I don’t. Which isn't how I actually feel. But that's my point.
Having a strong point of view can act like gasoline, igniting a passionate response in other people. Either people agree with you, and respect your candor. Or people disagree with you, and respond with their perspective. It’s a win, win.
Here’s how a typical conversation between you and I might go...
You: “I think we should do this.”
Me: “That’s horse shit. It stupid. We should definitely not do that.”
You: Thinking to yourself, fuck this condescending asshole. I’ll show him exactly why this is a good idea.
Me: “Interesting. I’m convinced. You are right. I am wrong. I just learned something. Thank you.”
Admittedly, it’s not exactly like that, but you get the idea.
Another example of how being wrong can be good is in a brainstorm session. Most of the time, brainstorm sessions are set up to focus on good ideas. I like to run brainstorm sessions a little different. I’m a big fan of starting with the stupidest ideas first. Why? Because people can almost immediately respond with a slightly better idea. Stupid ideas attract decent ideas. Decent ideas attract good ideas. Good ideas attract great ideas. And so on, and so forth, until you cure cancer and world hunger.
I understand that the world is a complicated place. But the best way I’ve learned to make sense of it all is to simply place a bet and see what happens.
Have an opinion, and be confident about it. Just make sure you’re open to being wrong. That’s the only way you’ll learn to be right.