There’s so much freedom in saying, “I was wrong.” PERIOD. Not “I was wrong, but you were more wrong” or “I was wrong but there were extenuating circumstances.” Not even “I was wrong, but I was having my period.” Just a simple, “I was wrong.”
So shoot me. I’m human. And a mess. And inconsistent. And often wrong. Even when I’m sure I’m right.
I loved a financial article this week in The Washington Post. Barry Ritholtz, in his On Investing column, wrote Here’s where I messsed up. And this is what I learned. In it he outlined five errors he made in 2012 — in hopes that he’d learn from analysis and also emphasizing that a great investor needs to anticipate errors and adjust; that’s the nature of the game.
I like that approach. He said, “…my goal every year is to make a whole new set of errors, rather than repeating the same mistakes over and over again.” That, my friends, is the quintessence of growth… taking what we screwed up spectacularly and using it as the raw material for something better.
And letting others off the hook when they hear us say “I was wrong” and thus have the space themselves to be wrong and forgiven.