How to avoid being wrong

You can’t, necessarily.

But you can increase your chances. The real question is do you really want to know the truth? Or would you rather just believe what you want to believe?

If you want to get closer to the truth, here’s how:

Notice when you’re dancing closely to the edge of truth. How do you know? Well, generally, the more you want something to be true, the closer to the edge you’re probably dancing. So pay extra attention. And be extra careful.

You can notice it usually in the form of lovely positive tingly feelings. And in things you haven’t thought about for ages, precisely because you closed the door to doubt long ago, because you hoped and wanted it to be true, and since then have let your subconscious build a case to support it.

That’s when you should challenge your thinking for watertight evidence (providing you think it matters enough).

That’s your ‘in’. It’s your opportunity. Your move. Look where you’ve never dared look before. Refuse to be fooled. Refuse to let the exciting or hopeful stuff bamboozle or deceive you. And refuse to let someone elses excitement, conviction or even just their word bamboozle or sway you too. Even if you often trust them. In fact, especially if you often trust them. (After all, that fits our criteria of wanting it to be true – because you kind of want what they’re saying to be right to be consistent with your image of them.)

It’ll test the nervous amongst you, but that’s the time to put ‘the truth’ to the test. With evidence.

The goal is to get it right.

In summary, the test is: how much do I want this to be true? (If you don’t care at all, you’re far less likely to bias yourself, and you’re far more likely to be open minded to whatever you observe.)

The prescription is: push back, think critically, find evidence where it is, and seeds of evidence from the past or present that suggest it might not be. And do this with some interest.

If you want ideas like this in your inbox, you can sign up to my emails at the top of the screen.

Scroll to Top