If you are going to be wrong – and you will be – don’t half-ass it. There are benefits to being wrong boldly. Here are a few.
1. Half-Assed Mistakes Mean Half-Assed Wins
There’s nothing inspiring about a hedged bet. There are no big wins without the risks of big losses.
Similarly, if you hedge all of your statements with an “I could be wrong, but…” and all of your actions with timidity and uncertainty, you’ll never know what it’s like to be actually right. You’ll never work through anything fully. You’ll never work toward anything fully. And you’ll never see the best moments that come from winning and being right – all because you were afraid of being wrong.
2. Covering Your Ass Is No Way to Live
If you care about truth and doing the right thing, you will occasionally be mistaken and do the wrong thing. If you care primarily about looking impressive to the people around you, you will also occasionally be mistaken and do the wrong thing.
If you care primarily about looking impressive, you’ll live your life covering your ass. You’ll have several scenarios in which you can pass the buck of blame to someone or something else. You’ll have all the paperwork in order which will exonerate you from the responsibility for your mistake. After all, an “impressive” person’s reputation would be destroyed by a mistake, wouldn’t it?
If you actually care about truth and doing the right thing, you won’t go around covering your ass. You’ll be willing to accept the future potential consequences for your mistakes because they’ll be mistakes made in good faith. They’ll come from a strong center of self-esteem. And what’s more, your willingness to take responsibility for your mistakes will get you much closer to actually succeeding.
It’s very clear to outside observers who’s who in these situations. The cover-your-assers rarely get away with it, and they don’t look too impressive after all. Wouldn’t you like to be able to make mistakes without thinking first about how you’re going to spin them?
3. Realizing a Mistake Is Something to Celebrate, Not Fear
Most people dread finding out when they are doing something wrong. On the contrary, we should all be happy when we learn our mistakes. Knowledge of our mistakes is something most of us can’t get just from self-reflection. It’s a gift that lets us get better and get back on the right track.
If we approach our failures and mistakes boldly, we’ll be able to integrate their lessons and avoid repeating them. If we fail to be bold about our failures, the realization of a mistake can be a dangerous blow to our egos. We can let mistakes incapacitate us and paralyze us with regret, and we can fall further into those mistakes than ever.
More than anywhere else, this is where it’s important to own failure instead of letting it own you.
This is also where you find that being wrong boldly takes exactly the same stuff – and has exactly the same purpose – as being right boldly.
Nothing is worth doing halfway.