Think back over the new year and count how many times you were wrong about something. Big things small things…however you want to count them is fine.
Okay. Keep that number in your head.
When I was a boy I used to think that the moon followed me around…just me. Walking around at night it was quite clear that the moon has chosen me as his companion. I wasn’t sure what made me special, but I thought that those poor people in Australia never saw the moon. I thought that I must visit them sometime so that I could bring the moon to them.
This went on for many years; my firm belief was always that the moon was fixed firmly overhead.
Leave it to some science teacher to break the illusion. I was not special; everyone had the illusion that the moon followed them around, because it really orbited the earth at such a great height that our slight movements didn’t noticeably affect our relative distance or direction from it.
I was obviously wrong about the moon.
More importantly, once I realized that I was wrong I was a smarter person.
Every time we realize that we are wrong about something, we wind up the smarter for it. In fact the most important lessons are learned through realizing that we were wrong about something, and rarely do we learn without being wrong first.
So, now go back to the number of times that you were wrong in the past year.
If you were wrong about several major things, you are a remarkably smarter person than last year. Congratulations!
If you’ve gone a whole year without being wrong about something, than you are no smarter than you were last year.
How long has it been since you’ve been wrong about something major? Two years? Five? If it’s been this long, perhaps it’s time to get out there and learn what it is that you don’t know you don’t know.
The longer you go without learning that you are wrong about something, the longer you go without improving your knowledge about the world.
In the new year, aim to prove yourself wrong as much as possible.
Each time you do, you will learn something important about the world and better your understanding about it.
Each time you resist being wrong, you are also resisting learning and bettering your understanding about the wrong.
The best people in the were are frequently wrong; the smartest people in the world are quick to admit it.