The Power of Being Wrong

On being wrong

Anyone who achieves great things in any domain has the courage to be wrong. This means you’re willing to go against convention and look like an idiot. This is one characteristic that separates game-changers from everyone else; and it’s very uncommon.

Here’s Amy Edmondson on the power of being wrong

A few weeks ago I had a chat with the COO of a marketing agency. We were discussing opportunities in applying emotion recognition technology for some of their clients, he stalled when the topic of process came up because he thought we follow a cookie cutter approach. Emotion AI is still in the early stages, and the companies who have adopted this technology are the ones who are willing to make mistakes; this marketing agency is not one of them.

I’ve never been afraid of being wrong. If you look at my about page you’ll see I listed some of my failed ventures, and I openly talk about them when I give speeches to students and executives.

I’ve been called crazy because I’ve dabbled in things that are outside my supposed “scope”, like creating and producing a Cirque Du Soleil type of performance art piece and acting / producing a movie. I didn’t win any awards for these projects, that was never my goal. Rather, I wanted to do them because I like challenging myself. The goal was to follow my curiosity and learn new things, to apply my skills to another domain and learn others skills to my talkent stack.

And yes, I’ve not been kind with myself when I’ve been wrong because I’m very demaning in what I expect from myself; this is something I’ve worked on.


Key Takeaways
Bottom line:

  • Innovation dies where fear lives.
  • Being great at something means you’ll be wrong often.
  • Leaders are learners, and making mistakes is part of learning and getting better.
  • If you’re not making mistakes then you should be worried.