Wanting to be right is the enemy of truth. It can distort your judgement and blind you. Because you are more interested in ‘winning’, rather than in getting to the bottom of things.
Your enquiry has to go deeper then. Beyond ego insecurities around pride or to do with proving yourself. A commitment to seeking the truth thus necessarily involves a willingness to be wrong. And, to admit to being wrong. But, it’s not just about being wrong either.
The problem is that even when you are on the right path, desperately wanting to be right can derail you. Because you so want to prove you are right that you end-up rushing what could otherwise have been good work. And, in this process of rushing you drift away from rigour and truth.
Very few of my intellectual heroes are still alive today. Those that I have met amongst the few that remain have one thing in common. They all have a deep humility about them despite being very, very good at what they do. Always willing to be wrong and to keep an open mind to things they might have missed.
This is perhaps what underlies their mastery of their fields — a commitment to deeper exploration beyond the trappings of status and pride. They are more interested in wholeheartedly playing the game than in winning it!
Wanting to be right is the enemy of truth
It is worth stating that when I talk about truth, I do not have in mind such thing as an ‘absolute truth’, except perhaps in the (very) hard sciences. I use the term truth to describe getting to the bottom of things — to being in the service of clarity, rigour and deeper understanding.
So, whatever your explorations and line of work may be, notice how much you are driven by the desire to be right. We are all susceptible to it by virtue of being human. Remember that wanting to be right is the enemy of truth.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.