The caller asked “Have you ever run into someone who is confident, but wrong?” Initially the question took me by surprise, then I realized…it happens to me all the time.
Confident ≠ right
Being confident doesn’t mean that you’re right. It simply means that you have no reason to doubt your perspective.
It’s healthy to be confident in your beliefs for it’s in confidence that we move forward fearlessly. If, however, you’re plagued by doubt, you’ll find yourself trapped in the emotional equivalent of quicksand. Not only can’t you move, you feel yourself being drawn inextricably into despair.
Confident ≠ arrogant
People who are confident are always open to new information. They realize that the real source of their confidence is their ability to learn and adapt. Being continuously in the learning mode they seek new information, new insights that will help propel them forward…even if what they learn is contrary to earlier beliefs.
Arrogant people aren’t open to learning. They are so deeply entrenched in their beliefs that they are unwilling to accept alternative viewpoints. That’s when being confident and wrong become a problem. The costs associated with a closed mind can be, and often are, devastating.
The right combination
Confidence and openness are the secret to long-term success in anything that you choose to do in life. You need to be confident in your ability to learn and adapt…and open to new ideas to continue to learn.
Wrong ≠ stupid
There’s an old adage “often wrong, but never in doubt” that I believe describes me well. To me, the fact that I am wrong often simply means that I’m aggressively pursuing new knowledge. It doesn’t mean that I’m stupid.
Indeed, I’d consider myself stupid if I weren’t continuously pursuing new information that proved earlier beliefs wrong. If I ever wanted to stymie my future, all I’d have to do is stop learning.
Be confident…until you get new information. Don’t let being wrong shake your confidence, for it’s your confidence that allows you to be open to being wrong…and being wrong is simply part and parcel of learning.
For our kids
Teach the kids in your life that being wrong simply is part of the learning process and that their source of confidence resides in their ability to learn and adapt.
More importantly, live these messages. The kids in your life are going to trust what you do much more than they do what you say. When you live a life in which being wrong is simply part of the learning process and what you learn enhances your confidence, they’ll embrace that lifestyle as well.
Be confident…even when you’re wrong…and your kids will be too.