You’re Probably Wrong About Lots of Things!
There’s so much valuable information to be learned when you approach the world with an open mind. When you are curious and willing to be wrong, wisdom accrues.
Too many of us are calcified into opinions that we defend with all our might. We have little interest in changing our minds because we identify with our opinions. Our egos are on the line.
Our egos depend on us being ‘right’ so we feel threatened by any suggestion that our cherished opinions could be incorrect.
We defend our opinions with gusto and we are not open to being proven wrong. This means we neither learn nor grow. We remain defensive, angry, and ignorant.
People often stew in their incorrect opinions for years and even entire lifetimes.
If you hate being wrong you are probably coming from a place of ego. You may care more about seeming ‘right’ than you do about actually finding the truth. This mindset is debilitating, unpleasant, and unattractive.
So do yourself a favour and keep an open mind. And remember that on many issues… you’re probably wrong!
Avoid Ideological Tribes
Humans enjoy being part of a team or tribe. This often leads us to join ideological tribes. The Alt Right, socialism, feminism, MGTOW; these are all ideological tribes.
This is dangerous because we end up rooting for our tribe and defending an idea as if it’s a sports team! When we are part of an ideological tribe we have a closed mind.
When we are in an ideological tribe we want our tribe to win. We ignore or rail against opinions or facts that contradict our tribe’s opinion. We become more interested in our tribe winning than in getting to the objective truth.
The Dangers Of Confirmation Bias
When we are ego-invested in an opinion confirmation bias kicks in. We only notice evidence in the world that backs up our opinion. We fail to notice (or deny) evidence that contradicts our opinion.
The Thrill Of Having your Opinion Changed!
But freeing yourself from ego-attachment to your opinions and ideological tribalism is well worth the effort. Being open-minded and intellectually free is a nirvana that we should all be aiming for.
When you are open and willing to change your mind a universe of potential opens up before you. Having your mind changed by new facts and ideas becomes a thrilling, liberating experience.
Read Deeply Of Opposing Opinions
An excellent way to make sure you are not trapped in an ideological tribe is to read books that argue against your opinion. If you are a socialist read Thomas Sowell. If you are a libertarian read Karl Marx.
Reading opposing opinions will broaden your horizons and give you a much more nuanced worldview.
The Wisdom Of Sitting On The Fence
The more you study all of the opposing ideas on a subject, the more you will find yourself sitting on the fence.
People are often criticised for sitting on the fence. They are labelled weak and spineless.
But nothing could be further from the truth. It takes courage and self-discipline to not jump to conclusions and to remember how complex the world is. It takes balls to admit how little we know.
Ego Means We Like To Talk And Always Have An Opinion
Ego drives people to pick a side and then stick with it through thick and thin. Ego-invested people are over-concerned with not being wrong. They are more interested in not being wrong than they are in learning the truth.
The Merits Of Moderation
Extremism is tempting. It is very easy to swing farther and farther towards one-sided thinking. Youtube algorithms curate what we watch. And they give us more and more of the same ideas. In fact, they give us more and more extreme versions of the same ideas.
It’s hard work to pull back from an ideology and make the effort to explore opposing ideas.
Moderation in thinking is more demanding. But given that there is merit in many different ideas, and that there are many reasonable ways to think about any single issue or problem, moderation is usually the most objectively rational option.
Reality Is Highly Complex So You’re Probably Wrong
Black and white, all or nothing thinking is very rarely accurate or rational. The truth is usually somewhere in between the extremes. Truth is found in the grey zones. Ambiguity is inescapable. Embrace ambiguity.
Resist getting wedded to any ideologies. Only have strong opinions about things that you genuinely know a lot about. Sit on the fence regarding issues you don’t fully understand all aspects of.
Have the bravery to admit, to the world and yourself, what you do not know! And enjoy and celebrate having your mind completely changed by new information.