The Joy of Being Wrong

Sep 28, 2022

When I was 300 pounds, suicidal, abusive to my family, and drinking at toxic levels, I thought I had it all figured out. I judged others who didn't believe what I believed, and heckled others who saw life differently than I did. It didn't matter how much chaos I was mired in; I would defend my beliefs, perspectives, and opinions to the death. If you didn't believe what I believed, I would make you wrong. 

I specifically remember belittling my wife's preferences when they didn't match mine. I would tell her that things she liked were stupid, childish, or wrong when I didn't agree. I did the same socially, politically, and spiritually. If you didn't agree with me, you were a fool. 

Looking back, that's super unhealthy pride, arrogance, and a toxic ego. I thought that for me to be ok, I needed to always be right. That was 6 years ago. Now I get excited when I'm wrong because it gives me the opportunity to learn. 

I've learned to seek first to understand, be ok with being wrong, allow others to see the world as they do without needing to change or challenge them, and choose the highest perspectives which create higher levels of health, wealth, and happiness.

There are things you know you know, things you know you don't know, and things you don't know you don't know. Which area you connect with the most determines your ability to grow in life.


What You Know Got You Here

Think about it. What you know got you here. Every circumstance in your life - your health, wealth, and the quality of your relationships - everything you know got you here. If what you know got you here, then what you know won't get you to the next level. If you are overly prideful or attached to what you know, then you are essentially choosing to continue to see the world the same way, and by seeing the world the exact same way you'll keep getting the same exact results.

I've witnessed people who stop listening, reading, or exploring as soon as a new concept bumps into their current belief. That's a very painful way to live.

By protecting and defending your current state of awareness, by dismissing new ideas, or by thinking you know everything, you are fighting for your current circumstances. If you think what you know and what you have is all there is, fight for them. But if you want more you must let go of what you know and open to what you don't know. 


 What You Know You Don't Know Creates Incremental Gains

There's freedom is realizing you don't know everything. When you can identify new ideas, it opens the avenue for new growth and expanding your circumstances.

In my experience, most people maintain an inventory of things they don't know. They might or might not choose to learn more about them, and frankly, there might be no benefit. A scientist might know of ballet, and completely be ok not learning more about the topic without impact. But the same scientist who knows a segment of information which could be in direct conflict with their current positions, but refuses to be open to conflicting data, is protecting a fragile ego. 

Some are ok with what they don't know and choose to protect their current state, some pretend to know everything even though they know they don't, and some love to learn more to evolve. I believe everyone has unfamiliar concepts they haven't explored and there's growth if they are willing to learn more. 

The most significant growth comes from what you don't know you don't know. 


Transformation Through Exploring the Unknown

There are things right now that you don't know that you don't know. This is where transformation lives. 

This is the area where my transformation came from, and when someone creates massive change in their lives it's because they have learned something in an area that I didn't know that I didn't know. 

My father loved me dearly, but he taught me that making money was hard, you needed to work hard for a living,  the purpose of work was to take care of your family and to attain some security, and  marriage was hard. My dad believed these things, but he was wrong in them all. He taught me what he thought was true, and he defended these beliefs. I listened and carried his baton. I even defended these beliefs when challenged. When I let down my defensiveness and learned from people who believed differently, my life transformed. 

I was hanging out with people who were wealthy, successful, and happy. They were also physically fit and had awesome marriages. Instead of telling them my beliefs, I listened. I learned. I adopted. 

I didn't know that our work could simply be our gift to the world, and a combination of our natural talents and passions. I didn't know that by doing what I loved I'd never feel like I was working hard. I didn't know that life could be easy or that marriage could be easy and loving.

The way that I learned these new concepts that I didn't know was because I listened. I adopted them because I saw how they were true for others, and I saw the joy that these different beliefs and perspectives brought others. I wanted what they had, so I stopped defending my own beliefs long enough to see that mine were not true. I had lived them out, but ultimately, they are not true unless we believe they are true. 

In the process of transforming my life, the greatest growth came from embracing that I didn't know everything. Now I've realized that I might not know anything. And I'm always willing to learn more if it will bring more wealth, success, and happiness in my life. I'm not attached to my current circumstances, so I've learned to not be attached to what I believe either. 


Putting It All Together

We all know things. Or do we? Can you really say that what you know is true, or does it hurt too much to believe there might be another truer idea? The people who grow the most are the people who look to let go of what they know in lieu of more beneficial knowledge and wisdom. Which one are you? Are you open to new concepts? Do you defend what you think you know? Do you look to prove what you know wrong?

There's joy in being wealthy, successful, and happy. In my experience the way there is to develop joy in being wrong. 

 Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash

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