What Are You Wrong About?

Q: Do you think you’re right about everything?

A: No

Q: So what are you wrong about?

A: …

That simple exchange as a thought experiment is originally from Will Storr and relayed by David McRaney as one great part of a really good discussion on cognitive biases, beliefs, and communication (video below).

Those two simple questions and thinking about your honest answers to them are a little stunning. And I’ll add a third question of my own, with the answer left as an exercise for the reader.

Q: Do you enter any conversations at all assuming you could be wrong?

As we get ready to enter 2019, and as we collectively continue to struggle with how to effectively discuss things in the age of Social Media, and how we determine what is true, I think these simple questions are incredibly powerful to think about.

The idea of these questions is about a minute in the video below. But the whole discussion is great so I’d suggest winding it back and enjoying the whole thing too.

Thinking about what you’re wrong about

My 2019 quest: to discover more of what I’m wrong about. And fix that.

It’s always easy to learn new things and add them to the things-I’m-right-about pile. But thinking about these questions tells me it’s just as important to discover the things I’m wrong about and subtract them from that pile. I especially want to engage with those who are just as eager to subtract from their things-I’m-right-about pile as they are to convince me that their pile is just right.

Here’s to hoping that we can all approach discussions not just trying to push our piles at each other, but working together trying to make everybody’s piles better.

Besides the discussion with David McRaney and Misha Glouberman in the video above, David also interviews Misha in another great conversation for his podcast, You Are Not So Smart (which I recommend generally), here: https://youarenotsosmart.com/2018/12/17/yanss-143-how-to-talk-to-people-about-things/.

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