Are you giving yourself space to be wrong? I recommend you try it, it gives you a great feeling of freedom and independence. In this article, you learn how you can give yourself the space to be wrong and overcome any obstacles in the way.
Last week, I told you about the mistake I made at work where I forgot the minus sign. It is such a small thing, but since I work in accounting it’s kind of a big deal.
What I learned from that is that it’s important to strive for goals, always. It does not matter how small or how insignificant your action seems, they are important in the big spectrum of things.
What I didn’t see at that time, what I do see now, is that it’s okay to be wrong. It’s important that you, at that moment, see it as a learning moment and try to do it better next time.
BUT, what isn’t necessary is to beat yourself up about it.
So let’s talk today about giving yourself the space to be wrong!
Allow Yourself To Be Wrong
Today, pretty much everything is on social media. The things that you posted 10 years ago will forever be on Facebook. Things that you tweeted years ago can be used against you now. Even YouTube videos that you made for high school assignments are still on there for the world to see!
This is creating a space where you want to be careful about what you post. I mean there is nothing wrong with that, but if you’re afraid that you’ll say things that might turn out wrong, this is a problem.
If you’re going against mainstream thinking, this is where people will most likely not agree with you. But going against mainstream thinking and the echo chambers out there will give us the most progress!
It’s in those moments of discussion that you will learn the most!
If you’re so afraid of being wrong that you’re not starting any conversation that might challenge the status quo, that is exactly where the problem lies.
You’re so afraid of being wrong that it’s getting in the way of changing the conversation, of expressing our different opinion, and of making a change.
How do we do that?
You’re probably thinking; okay, well, how do I allow myself the space to be wrong? I mean, making a mistake or being wrong is not so difficult.
The difficult thing is being okay when you’re wrong, accepting it, and seeing it as an opportunity. to grow
Option 1: Fear of Failure
It’s okay to be afraid to fail, but is it realistic?
Often times we are afraid of how things will work out, but they always do. It’s something that goes on in our brain.
Fear of failure is rarely based on reality. It is our past experiences that we are afraid of repeating, the mistake that we really don’t want to make because we’re so afraid of the possible consequences.
Ask yourself, if you make a mistake at work? What happens?
Often times it’s not something truly terrible, we’re more disappointed in ourselves than anyone else would ever be.
It’s important to feel the fear and do it
Fear is simply a feeling that you have, that tells you that you’re working towards something great!
[Related Read: How to Start an Awesome Business Without Quitting your Job]
Option 2: It’s An Opportunity to Learn
It’s important to see your mistakes as an opportunity to learn.
It’s the stigma in our society that you can’t be wrong, you can’t make mistakes, we all need to be perfect.
No, that’s far from the truth.
Seeing it as an opportunity to learn will grow your skillset for the better. If you’re denying that you made a mistake, you will never learn.
If you give yourself the space to be wrong, you will learn and probably pay attention next time you’re in a similar situation.
[Related Read: 6 Lesson Learned from Rich Dad Poor Dad Everyone Should Know]
Option 3: You’re Human
My experience is that when you make mistakes, people around you just see you as human. They’re not blaming you, so why should you? It’s often something we put on ourselves.
You should recognize yourself as a human in a situation where you were wrong. It’s okay to be wrong.
Recognizing this gives you perspective and humility. It prevents you from locking into certain beliefs and situations that are not serving you.
[Related Read: Money and Confidence as A Way to Living Your Best Life]
Option 4: Don’t Take it Personally
Many people today are easily offended. When there is an article online that is a tad bit controversial and challenges their views, they take it personally.
They see it as an attack on who they are as a person, rather than as challenging their current ideas. They go all defensive and aren’t open for any discussion.
Point 2 and 3 help. See it as an opportunity to learn, maybe you’ve never heard this point of view before and it will teach you a lot about what people in different situations think. Be open for the discussion, realize that you’re only human and you may have beliefs that are not serving you.
The most important thing: don’t take it personally!
I remember a passionate discussion about charity. There were people who were convinced that one should always give to charity, and people who were said that they will never give to charity. The point is not to pick a side here, but rather to see that you probably have a strong opinion about this. That does not mean that they can not have their own opinions and have a good discussion!
Whether you’re giving to charity or not, you probably feel triggered. Try to see it from the perspective of the other person. Try to see that they do not disagree with you as a person for (not) giving to charity. See that it’s just this one decision they disagree with.
Option 5: Don’t Give it Personally
As important as it is to not take criticism personally, it is also important to not give criticism personally.
You probably prefer when others do not give criticism personally, so try it for yourself.
As I outlined above, you’re not criticizing them as a person, you’re criticizing their habits or beliefs.
Keep in mind: if you give yourself and others space to be wrong, you will have different life experiences and discussions come into your life that will invite a different point of view.
You make mistakes, mistakes don’t make you!
Are you giving yourself space to be wrong?
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
- Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
- Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
- Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.