There’s no benefit to me for being wrong for longer. It’s much better if I change my beliefs sooner, and it’s a good feeling to have that sense of a discovery, that surprise – I would think people would enjoy that.
— Kjirste Morrell, forecaster, as quoted in organisational psychologist Adam Grant‘s 2021 book, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know.
That quote, especially the first part, has stuck with me.
Rethinking my core beliefs and narratives (and then acting on new ones) has made a huge difference in my quality of life.
But it took a long time before I could do that, because there did seem to be benefits for being wrong for longer:
I could keep the people I’d come to see as important despite their ongoing toxic, abusive behaviours.
I could delay the massive amounts of grief and pain that would be inevitable with loss.
I could continue to act and feel productive, fixing and improving one thing after another, without accepting that the foundation was simply not sound.
I could avoid accepting the full extent of my responsibility.
I could keep what felt like an existential crisis at bay: “If this thing that 99% of the people in my life says is right isn’t actually right, what else? Have I just wasted three decades of my life? What do I do now?”
Et cetera, et cereta. The desire to keep the self-delusion going was strong.
I wish I could say that I woke up one day and just decided to do the right thing. But that would be a lie. It took literal matters of life and death before no amount of mental gymnastics could keep the illusion alive. If you’re a MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) fan, think WandaVision.
I’ll share more in future posts about the transition, but for now, let me just say, yep, I’ve really come to see that there’s no benefit to me for being wrong for longer. There’s no benefit to me for sitting in a house that’s on fire and claiming otherwise, no matter how much I’ve loved that house.
And indeed it’s a good feeling – that sense of a discovery, that surprise. Not only has the change been survivable, it’s got me out of survival mode and into living. I get the joy of being wrong now, for being wrong (usually) doesn’t feel like an existential threat.
What’s something that you secretly know is wrong and are holding on to? Maybe we could take a look at it together, safely and systematically?