As entrepreneurs, we have a powerful urge to always ‘be right.’
It makes sense why. We know full well what happens when we make the wrong decisions in business: embarrassment, criticism, financial loss, and perhaps most devastating of all, the severance of personal relationships.
Unfortunately, we’re not right most of the time.
If we were, there wouldn’t be so many failed startups in the world.
Despite this, or perhaps because of it, we desperately cling to the illusion that we are often right. It’s a dangerous way of thinking — one that threatens not only our professional and personal lives, but society as a whole.
Consider the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election: there are people on both sides of the election who, after being diametrically opposed to one another over the last 4 years, have made being right their sole purpose in life.
And what has the Free World had to show for this?
Violent protests and counter-protests, destruction of private property, shattered families and communities, and more.
But it’s not just America. The unhealthy obsession with ‘being right’ pervades much of the developed world.
“One of the most prevalent—and damaging—themes in our [first-world] culture is the need to be right.”
“It quickens our pulse, causes us to shout, and can sever relationships. It is the raison d’etre for most acts of hatred, violence, and warfare.”
With this in mind, is it any wonder why the world is as noisy, as divided, and as violent as it is today?
We’re taught our whole lives that being right is the key to personal and professional success.
But whether it’s business partners, family members, or friends, no one wants to be around someone who constantly has to be right. It can make even the most mundane conversation an insufferable experience. That’s why entrepreneurs need to understand that in order to be truly successful, they have to be okay with being wrong.
This doesn’t mean that you pull your punches or have a self-defeating attitude. It means you accept the fact that your logic can, at times, be imperfect, and that failure — as much as it stings — is inevitable. Ultimately, it means you keep an open mind regardless of your personal affiliations or beliefs. Speaking from experience, I can say that entrepreneurs who cultivate this kind of mental malleability are much more likely to succeed than those that don’t.
From financial stability to personal reputation, there’s a lot at stake when it comes to entrepreneurship. That’s probably the reason why entrepreneurs (including myself) are so hell-bent on being right. We know that a misstep can hurt not only ourselves and our families, but those we work with.
However, you can’t let your fear of making mistakes turn you into a source of division. Once you remove all of the ego behind being right or wrong, you see that being wrong is no longer a deathblow, but rather an exciting opportunity for personal growth.