Be Your Best

The Power of Looking Forward to Being Wrong

by on Oct.15, 2015, under Blog Posts

Who likes to be wrong?  Nobody!  And I don’t think I am wrong when I am doing something or saying something that I think is right.  I think I am pretty normal that way.

But in recent years, the more I read and the more I learn, and the more I do — the more I am becoming receptive to being wrong.  And maybe more importantly, I actually look forward to being wrong.


Being wrong, if doing and executing things constructively and at your very best, means that I have the opportunity to learn something new.  What I did or what I said or what I thought was found to be “wrong”.  But when I did it, said it, or thought it — I thought it was “right”.  Effectively through this process, I tested something and found out that it did not work, or work well, as a result of being wrong.  THIS IS HUGE…if you are receptive and open and being alert to being wrong, when you are wrong.

Being Wrong is Failure, or…

Being wrong is essentially a “failure”, right?  Being wrong or partially wrong happens more times than you think, but most people are largely unaware of these ‘being wrongs’ unless they are on the lookout for them.  If people don’t want to be wrong, then they have a tendency to avoid the possibility of being wrong.  Many of these ‘being wrongs’ are ultra-small impact or micro-wrongs.  To the naked eye, many of these instances are “0 impact”.  But they are wrong, nevertheless.  You can think of these being wrongs as failures — But I like to look at these wrongs as Test Data.  In other words, I have tried to develop a perspective of looking at being wrong and failures, small or big, fundamentally differently — to turn it into an advantage for me and a growth/success trait as opposed to something negative.

Through a lot of reading as well as interaction with highly successful people, one very common theme of personal and professional success I have come to observe and understand is to: not look at failure as a bad thing.  It is a very good thing.  And, to take that further, it is wise to pretty much take the word failure out of your vocabulary altogether.  Instead, look at Failure = Testing.  Or, Failure = Trying and Learning.

Failure Means Progress and Innovation

If you are open and receptive to being wrong, and if you are executing and “doing” a lot (whether it be at work or in your personal life) toward your desired goals and objectives, then essentially you are “trying” a lot of things.  And trying a lot means failing (testing) a lot.  And failing (testing) a lot, means learning a lot with respect to what is working and what is not working.  And learning about what works and what doesn’t — and applying that to the next thing you try — means you are innovating.  You can’t be an innovator without trying (testing) a lot and you can’t try a lot without failing (test data) a lot!  I want to be an innovator and I want to be around people who are innovators.  And by framing ‘being wrong’ into progress and innovation, as long as I am truly being receptive and open to what my wrongs are, is a very powerful success trait to employ.

Being OK With Being Wrong a Lot Promotes CREATIVITY

I have studied the concept of Creativity and Creative Thinking a lot over the years.  Besides putting together a Creativity System and Reference Guide, I have learned that being able to be open and receptive to being wrong (truly receptive and open and aware of when I am wrong) spawns and promotes creativity and creative thinking.

When I focus on the fact that pretty much everything I do could be or may be wrong (testing and test data), I pick up on my did-it-wrong’s or did-not-work’s much more quickly and more often.  Through this, I learn more — because you learn more when you are wrong than when you are right.  This learning generates more questions like “well, if that did not work, would would work? or work better?”.  This is very powerful Creative Thinking.

Thinking you are right when you are really wrong or thinking something is working when it really is not working is a very dangerous thing countering your/my success.  The sooner I know I was wrong (failure = testing data to make a change) or the sooner I know that something I did is not working, the sooner I can make a change and try (test) something else.  And Creativity (whether applied to solving a problem or developing a new product/concept or achieving a goal), as I have found through my research, is really a lot about ADAPTATION, not some magical genius.  And one key to being able to take an Adaptive approach to achieve success is to have a lot of example test or comparable situation data.  And one main source of that data is trying and being wrong!

So, look forward to being wrong.  Try harder to be truly open and receptive to being wrong, and constantly look for your wrongs — but know that they are all just test data from trying that can and should be turned into powerful positive forward progress, creativity, and innovation.

Be Your Best,
Todd D. Gifford

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