One of the most difficult things to do for most people, is to admit that they have been wrong about something.
For example, I have tried and failed a significant number of business ideas on my journey to become an entrepreneur. All of the failed ideas seemed amazing when I first started, but even when the writing was on the wall and deep down I knew it was time to change direction, I often stayed put WAY longer than I should have. Mostly because I did not want to admit to myself, or anyone else for that matter, that I had made a bad decision to get into this particular business in the first place.
As time went on, I started to realize that this unwillingness to admit my failure was a sign of a weak self image or ego. I was afraid that I would “look bad” by admitting I was wrong about a particular decision.
Over time and after enough failures, I was fortunate enough to develop a much stronger self image to a point where I am FULLY prepared to admit that I might be wrong or mistaken about ANYTHING in life.
I’ve heard this referred to as “negative capability“, which is the ability to be completely open to entertaining new ideas that may contradict what you believe and what you stand for.
When we falsely assume that admitting we are wrong is a sign of low intelligence, negative capability suggests that it is a sign of great strength and exceptional intelligence to be open to changing your opinion in favor of learning, growing, adapting and seeing the world in new ways.
At a practical level, when I create educational products in my business, I release the material with a great deal of confidence about the quality of my work. When I get customer feedback that suggests there could be some pieces missing or my work could be improved… I have literally trained myself to get excited about the feedback and seek to learn as much as possible about what this person is telling me.
In the past, the same scenario may have caused me to become defensive which only served to stunt my opportunities for growth. I am truly grateful and interested in entertaining ALL input and suggestions if it means I can improve.
It doesn’t mean that all criticism and feedback is ALWAYS going to be accurate. I listen to the message and decide for myself if it makes sense. But it does mean that I constantly stay open to gaining a new perspective and being fully prepared to admit that I was wrong or that I could have improved the way I did something.
This mindset has been a completely liberating experience and has opened my world to new opportunities for growth that I may have been pinching off in the past when I was too stubborn to listen.