How do You Become Less Wrong?
(In my article yesterday I misspelled the word spouse in a figure. I noticed this mistake after I hit publish so this article is very timely.)
For many years I have approached life from the position that I am wrong. I would even tell people to prove me right.
One time a good friend of mine who had studied under Peter Drucker disagreed with me that this position is a good strategy. My thoughts have not changed. The reason that they have not changed is that by approaching decisions and situations with the position that I am wrong (I might not verbalize it all of the time) I open myself to learning from the other person.
I am not arguing but instead simply looking for a better position to adopt.
The other day in my feed, on Alberto Savoia, came a quote from Elon Musk. The quote states:
“You should take the approach that you are wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.” — Elon Musk
Alberto was so excited that he wrote, “I can’t believe I had not heard this great quote* until today — and I could not wait to share it.” The surprising part was that someone of Alberto’s statue whose strategy is to prove that a product is worthwhile to pursue before investing a lot of time, money, and effort.
Those two things made me wonder whether my position was unique. BUT more importantly, Musk’s addition is worth gold. He even adds a dimension that over time you should strive to be less wrong.
Even though I agree with him that naturally, we should improve our performance over time BUT I disagree that it is a requirement of the approach. Maybe it is and I just do not see it?
By accepting that I am wrong I allow myself to learn. Also by accepting that I am less wrong over time I am driving towards perfection. If those are my goals, do I still stay open to new learnings? If I do then it does not change anything for me. BUT if perfection is the goal, then I would rather be imperfectly wrong. I do not want the minimization to become my new confirmation bias.
What about you?
My four cents…